When I think of the word, saint, I tend to think first about the specific qualities or attributes that actually makes someone a saint. What qualities are these? Are they the same for everyone? Does the expression of these qualities always look the same?
In our text for this week, Paul describes the common traits of saints: “ . . . we remember your work that comes from faith, your effort that comes from love, and your perseverance that comes from hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father.”
The key phrases in this scripture, work that comes from faith, effort that comes from love, and perseverance that comes from hope — give us some very specific guidelines for the things we celebrate in those saints who have gone before us.
What differs with each individual saint, however, is how that person lives into these qualities — how he or she spent an entire lifetime in their own unique expression of faith, love, and hope. That is their legacy they have left with us in concrete ways, the source of inspiration we can draw from them, and the tapestry of memories we most cherish. And, when we think together each year about these saints, it’s also important to consider the work we do, the efforts we make, and the perseverance we cultivate in order to fulfill the legacy our saints have left to us to follow.
This Sunday is All Saints’ Sunday, when we remember especially those who have died in the past year. We will remember these First Church Saints in sanctuary worship by reading each name as part of the Great Thanksgiving prayer in the middle of our Service of Holy Communion. In this holy sacrament, we remember and celebrate that we continue to be bound together in Christ — the Communion of Saints.
As we approach All Saints’ Sunday, I encourage you to read through the list of names to think about the people you know who are on the roll of those who have gone before us — and to think especially about the ways in which their life reflected work that came from their faith, efforts that came through their love, and perseverance came through their hope.
I also encourage you to join us as we continue this great day of celebrating our saints with a wonderful afternoon All Saints’ Concert at 2:00 pm in the Sanctuary. During this beautiful and inspirational choral and instrumental presentation by Choral Union, Adoramus, and The Texas Wesleyan Chamber Singers, we will honor all of our saints through music. In this sacred space you will find a unique opportunity to reflect, pray, remember — and to be grateful for all the saints who have gone before us — and for those who still live among us.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster
I Thessalonians 1:1-10 [CEB]
We always thank God for all of you when we mention you constantly in our prayers. This is because we remember your work that comes from faith, your effort that comes from love, and your perseverance that comes from hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father. Brothers and sisters, you are loved by God, and we know that he has chosen you. We know this because our good news didn’t come to you just in speech but also with power and the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know as well as we do what kind of people we were when we were with you, which was for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord when you accepted the message that came from the Holy Spirit with joy in spite of great suffering. As a result you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The message about the Lord rang out from you, not only in Macedonia and Achaia but in every place. The news about your faithfulness to God has spread so that we don’t even need to mention it. People tell us about what sort of welcome we had from you and how you turned to God from idols. As a result, you are serving the living and true God, and you are waiting for his Son from heaven. His Son is Jesus, who is the one he raised from the dead and who is the one who will rescue us from the coming wrath.
Sunday, November 3, 2019
On this day we remember those church members who have died from October 16, 2018 through October 15, 2019.
Steven Allen, Larry Anders, Janet Anderson, Doyle Beavers, Frances Blankenship, Betty Bragen, C.B. Bruner, William Byrd, Tony Campbell, Richard Carroll, Kenneth Carson, Ben Chamness, Betty Clements, Virginia Covaleski, Alice Dall, Monica De la Torre, Benny Delaney, Stan Dixon, Don Dunkin, Edgar Dunn, Barbara Fiscus, Byron Folse, Gwendolyn Fouts, Patricia Gober, Patty Grubb, Jerry Hendrix, Hazel Hitt, Ronald Jennett, Elda Kincaid, Kenneth Kirksey, James Lewellen, Danny Longeway, Pat Lundstrom, Elizabeth McCall, Charles Murphy, Gwendolyn Neal, Jo Nichols, Charlotte Oertel, John O’Rear, Ann Pace, Joan Piper, Betty Poage, Glenda Rattikin, Peggie Rayzor, Frank Reidinger, G.R. Rightmire, Bettie Rohleder, Mary Russell, Floyd Rutledge, Bill Schopper, J.W. Sellers, Martha Sisler, Marc Smith, Ann Solley, Thomas Stade, John Thomason, Chuck Voelker, Doris Walker, Evelyn Wood, J.L. Wren
All Saints’ Day is the celebration of people of faith who have contributed to the creation of God’s kingdom. These saints were not perfect, but were people who were trying to listen to God’s word and live God’s call. This is the “communion of saints” — that fellowship of believers that reaches beyond time and place, even beyond death.