FOR ALL THE SAINTS..
It was.. as some of you will remember.. just a year ago that I introduced you to the cross that I wear every single Sunday when I lead worship. I did so not at all for the sake of the cross, of course.. but because it also gave me a chance to talk about my mentor & very beloved friend Pastor Wayne Berg (who died while we were serving together during my first call to Estevan).
The significant thing is though, that, as big a “Saint” as Wayne was in my life.. as important to my story as he is.. he is by no means the only name that I find myself remembering and giving thanks for come All Saints Sunday each year. In fact, one of the most precious privileges of being a pastor is getting to know the people you serve.. AND hearing their stories.. each of which contributes quite deeply to my own growth in faith.
Over the years I have, obviously, heard some pretty amazing stories – stories of folks who faced daunting hardships when they came over here to Canada to completely start their lives over from scratch in the harsh prairies… stories of men & women who endured horrors to survive wars & personal tragedies that would have probably left most of us crumpled at the side of the road.. stories of people who overcame all kinds of limitations to not only survive but find ways to serve & give & be compassionate all along the way.
Firstly, I need you to know how much I cherish the stories you share with me. And while (as I have protested often) I am not good at remembering names – I do remember stories. I remember what they tell about who you are. AND even more importantly.. I remember them for who they invite me to be. For indeed as each of you share what your faith has meant to you on your journey.. and as you tell me how your faith has upheld you & then empowered you to love & serve in gratitude… your stories have become footprints in the snow for me to follow. Your witness strengthens me to also trust God and seek out new ways to live my faith too.
And so it is.. as you have heard before.. All Saint’s Day (the festival we celebrate this Sunday) is a day when we not only remember and give thanks for those famous-type folks who have lived lives of faithfulness and servanthood (St. Francis, Mother Theresa, Bonhoeffer, etc.). Just as powerfully though we also remember ALL who - to & through this day - are out there on the road of ordinary life making it extraordinary by their love. We not only pray for and celebrate all those “Saints” who have diedliving their trust in God.. but just as thankfully all people (including you) who live today and just as earnestly strive to be who God calls them to be.
All Saints Day is for ALL the saints!
- Pastor Stewart … Nov 1/18
PS – Let me challenge you with the same exercise I gave our confirmation students this week. Take a few minutes in the coming days to think about someone who has shown you something unique or powerful about what their faith meant to them. Think about how your life has been touched by or changed by their example. Finally.. think about what might be somethings you can do in the next few weeks to show that you really did learn from & are thankful for their example of “Saint-ness”.