Summary: A Sermon for All Saints Sunday
All Saints Sunday
"Past, Present, Future"
Sometime ago, we were driving in the car as it was raining. Sara watched the rain fall on the front windshield and watched as the force of the wind drove the rain drops together, then forcing them up to the top of the windshield. She hoped the drops would make it to the top before the wipers could swish them off. These drops joined together to form larger drops, and they in turn formed together to make even larger ones, and before we knew it, there was a little river running up the window. But there were other drops which remained apart from these larger ones, and there were other drops which formed their own smaller rivers. At one time we saw the drops of rain coming together to form a river, then for some reason, they parted again forming even smaller rivers. It was fascinating to watch the different patterns of rain on the windshield. Try it some time when you aren’t doing the driving.
Those rain drops joining together to form larger ones and even small rivers are a lot like the saints of God. You and I who are believers in God, for that is what a saint is join others to form a small river, a community in Christ. We journey together for awhile, but then some leave because of illness, moving away or death. But others join this community in Christ, this bond of saints continue their journey until the second coming of Christ when all will join with him in the heavenly home.
This morning we are going to look at these saints, saints we have journeyed with in the past, saints we journey with now in the present moment, and then the hope all the saints have for the future.
First the saints of our past. The saints we recall in our past, the ones who have found their eternal rest. We remember their faith and the fact that our fellowship is a communion of eternal life. The members of this community remain part of it, even after death. It is from these saints that our heritage of faith has been past on. It is from these saints the time honored values are past on are brought to present. It is from these saints we can draw courage and strength as we remember their lives, their actions, their relationship with us. As we reflect back over our lives, we recall many saints, even loved ones, who though they are now resting in another land,still keep a relationship alive within us. Maybe it is a husband’s memory’ or a child’s memory, or a father’s memory, or a grandparent’s memory which on this day tugs at the heart strings of our lives. Whatever it is, it is good to ponder to reflect, to relive those special moments.
As I think back over my years of being a pastor, many saints flash through the pictures in my mind’s eye. Each one holds a special memory, a special picture which influence my life today. And from my personal history, the images of my father and two grandmas and one grandpa flashes across the screen of memory. Some of these images influenced my present moment. From Grandpa Spachtholz I have learned and will always cherish the green thumb which I received from him. Grandpa loved flowers and gardens. As a little boy in Germany, he worked in a greenhouse, and when he came to America he enjoyed planting gardens and flowers. I would always enjoy going over to his house to look at his flowers and gardens. He would then pass on some of his knowledge, some of his secrets and I eagerly accepted them. Today because of those moments, I do enjoy flowers and gardening. And many times as I tend the flowers, thoughts of grandpa would come to the surface, pleasant thoughts, thoughts of the friendship, the companionship we had together.
On this All Saints day it is good to allow those special thoughts of a loved one to surface, to be relived, to be cherished once again. As we confess in the creed, " I believe in the communion of saints" there is a relationship with the past saints which affect our present in a good and healthy way. The writer to the Hebrews says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witness as we worship the Lord. The lives of those past saints do affect us today. It is good to recall their influence, their friendship, the bonds that link us to them and to the past.
Helen Stiener Rice has a poem entitled The Golden Chain of Friendship which speaks about our friends as links on a golden chain. Those friends now in the present moment and I think to, those friends who no longer are here in the present, but none the less are part of that chain in the memories we hold dear. Helen Stiener Rice says:"Friendship is a Golden Chain,....The links are friends so dear,.... And like a rare and precious jewel,. ...It’s treasured more each year.. . . . .It’s clasped together firmly... ..with a love that’s deep and true, And it’s rich with happy memories......And fond recollections, too.....Time can’t destroy its beauty....For as long as memory lives,.....Years can’t ease the pleasure.....That the joy of friendship gives,.. .For friendship is a priceless gift....That can’t be bought or sold,....But to have an understanding friends....Is worth far more than gold.....And the Golden CHAIN OF FRIENDSHIP...Is a strong and blessed tie...Binding kindred hearts together...As the years go passing by."