Remembering Saints and Friends
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints. Psalm 116:15
A faithful, veteran pastor once noted, “When you stay somewhere long enough, you stop burying members and start burying friends.” As I get older, All Saints Day is a much more meaningful day on the Church’s calendar than in my early days of pastoral ministry. Each year is a time to remember and give thanks for all of those witnesses with whom the Lord has surrounded us. Over time we grow in our gratitude for the examples of faithfulness that God provides to us. While some are scholars and church leaders, others are laypeople whose humble service may have never been acknowledged, but was a blessing to many.
Whether we call them family or friends, members or mentors, this is a time for us to rejoice that God calls them “saints.” They are holy ones because the Holy Spirit has clothed them Christ’s holiness. Through Holy Baptism, God has made us to be a holy nation, not because of our good deeds, but because of Christ, Holy One of Israel. Through His suffering, death, and resurrection, we all can be called saints through faith in Jesus.
However, God has called us more than just saints. He is also pleased to call us “precious,” not like the J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters speak, but those who are so beloved by Christ that He suffers and dies in their place. So even on All Saints Day and even at the graveside, we are able to find comfort and peace in knowing that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus, our Lord, not even death itself. This means that the saints of God are precious to Him and when their earthly days come to an end, our God still has more awaiting them in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. That is why we look forward to the blessed reunion with those who have gone before us in the faith, fellow saints and those precious to us and more importantly to Christ Jesus.
Prayer - Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan