For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confess,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
As has become my tradition, on the First of November, celebrated in many Christian branches as the Feast of All Saints, I pause to remember and share with you those in my life who have inspired me and have joined the Church Triumphant in the past year.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress, and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
I remember and give thanks for:
- Adam – The son of long-time friends of ours who loved life and joined the Church Triumphant at much too young an age
- Bill – A member of the Greatest Generation who served his country as part of a WWII bomber crew and one I enjoyed catching up with on Sunday mornings.
- Lois – Oh where do I begin? She is one of those who lived life on her own terms and one to whom God blessed with a full measure of years, living a restricted but vibrant life much longer than many of us expected. She was a strong Christian, and devoted Presbyterian quietly volunteering in our presbytery office for many years. When visiting her in her later years she always asked me for news of the presbytery.
- Robert – A respected, faithful, energetic and committed leader in the church. A long-time pastor and later para-church worker who had a sense of call to the disadvantaged and the outcast, and to recruiting others to help in these areas along with him. I did not always agree with him in theological matters, but I respected his views and he respected mine. He was a good friend and kindred spirit in our shared quirky sense of humor.
- Michael – A faithful and hard worker for the church who I knew from synod work. Another who I frequently disagreed with, but in our disagreement we respected each other.
- Edward – A faithful church worker, active with me at the synod level. His work and resources benefited many racial ethnic pastors, including some well-respected teaching elders in the PC(USA).
- Garland – A down to earth member of our men’s group, loving husband and faithful in his religious observance
- Don – A pastor who had to go on disability due to a degenerative illness, but who was as full of life as he could be to the end.
- Gordon – A faithful and hard working ruling elder in my presbytery and others before he moved here. Another who I differed with on some theological and polity points, but who I worked closely with, and with great mutual respect, on a couple projects for the presbytery.
O blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on His way.
And so on this day I give grateful thanks to the Lord of All for having each of them in my life at one time or another and the witness and encouragement they have each been to me.
Soon, soon, to faithful warriors cometh rest.
Sweet is the calm of Paradise the blest.