Devotion for the First Sunday in November
“So that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe.” (Ephesians 1:18-19)
This Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day, a day in which the church celebrates the saints who have gone on before us. As I think about those who have died from Epiphany, I feel their loss even as I smile at their memories. I can recall the simple smile and joy of Bette, who would ask Phil to re-tell another story. Or Udeen, whose personality was as colorful as her clothing. Or Jae, who could turn a phrase in writing that would make you laugh and think at the same time. Or Angie, whose warmth and hugs greeted you every Sunday. Or Carol, whose directness and humor was always present.
There are times in which we look at ourselves and think that there is no way that we could be great and faithful like those that we call saints. We think of those from the distant past, like the apostles or St. Francis. Or we think of those from the recent past like Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. And when we reflect on those lives, they seem to reflect a standard that is beyond our grasp.
Yet, all the saints who have gone before us were human beings like ourselves. Sometimes they got it right. Sometimes they got it wrong. The key in all of their lives was that they sought to live their lives in faithfulness to Jesus. And in that faithfulness, they inspire our lives and our faith, so that we may live our own lives faithfully to Jesus.
Martin Luther said that we are always at the same time saint and sinner. We all get it right. We all get it wrong. But we all contribute to that “glorious inheritance among the saints.” Through Jesus, we are renewed to live as faithful saints before God.
Mother Theresa put it this way: “Not all of us can do great things, but we all can do small things with great love.” As we reflect on those who have gone before us, may we be inspired to live out of our faith in Jesus Christ.
Faithful God, thank you for the lives of your saints who have gone before me. Help me to realize that I am a part of their witness and that through Jesus you have called me to live faithfully before you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Pastor David Armstrong-Reiner