Remembering the Saints

Shortly after I received my calling into ministry, I was visiting with my grandmother in Macon. She handed me a notebook she had kept for many years filled with old church bulletins, newsletters, and newspaper clippings. She had made notes about sermons she had heard preached, scriptures that inspired her, and life moments when she felt God’s grace. It was a very special moment that I will treasure forever.

As I reflect on my life, I am grateful for people like my grandmother, my parents, my aunts and uncles, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and mentors who have helped me become the husband, father, and pastor I am today. These are people who have made a significant impact on my life, and many of them have gone on to glory. I recognize that I stand on their shoulders as I carry on their legacy of faith and pass that same faith on to the next generation. It is an honorable and humbling realization.

Around the Church, November 1 is recognized as All Saints Day — a day we celebrate and remember all the saints who have impacted our lives. This was a day that was significant for John Wesley. In a journal entry Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, enjoyed and celebrated All Saints Day. In a journal entry from November 1, 1767, Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, refers to All Saints Day as “a festival I truly love.”  From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us. For example, in Hebrews 12 the author encourages Christians to remember that a “great cloud of witnesses” surrounds us encouraging us, cheering us on.

Charles Wesley, John’s brother, picks up on this theme in his hymn that appears in our United Methodist Hymnal as “Come, Let Us Join our Friends Above,” #709. In the first verse, he offers a wonderful image of the Church through the ages:

                 Let saints on earth unite to sing, with those to glory gone,
for all the servants of our King in earth and heaven, are one.

This Sunday, we will celebrate All Saints Sunday in both of our services as we remember those who have gone before us. Specifically, we will remember two individuals who have impacted our faith community at Royston First United Methodist Church — Jeralde Anthony and Charles “Chuck” Mason. In this season of giving thanks, we remember their impact, celebrate their legacy of faith, and give thanks for the time we shared with them. I hope you will make your plans to be with us in worship at 8:45 and 11:00 this Sunday.

Have a great weekend!

With Gratitude and Grace,
Matt

P.S. Thank you for the wonderful gifts, support, and encouragement expressed to my family and me last Wednesday for Pastor’s Appreciation Month. We are very grateful and honored that we get to be with you at Royston First UMC, and we look forward to all the amazing things God is doing in and through this church. Blessings!

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