“Encouraging Words for Today” – October 20, 2011
WHO ARE ‘ALL SAINTS’?
By Lucinda Secrest McDowell
So, I guess I’ve been teary all month. Missing people who have gone Home. In October, every time I see creepy/crass Halloween stuff, I tend to re-focus on All Saints Day instead (November 1)… Which makes me think of those who kept the faith and are now interceding for us with God.
Yes, I know many of my tears are delayed grief at the loss of Daddy this summer, but there are other significant anniversary reminders too. Perhaps the most significant in my own life is that 30 years ago this week Inka — the birth mother of my first three children — died of liver cancer. A godly woman I never knew, but can’t wait to meet in Heaven. We are forever tied together — for indeed, we love all the same people!
And I also just received a “Save the Date” card for the spring wedding of my lifelong best friend’s daughter. It has now been 13 years since I helped her, as a middle schooler, get dressed for her mother’s funeral. While amazingly proud of Lauren’s life path, I’m so very sad that Cax made a choice which results in her not being Mother of the Bride…. Speaking of which, this week is also the 3 year anniversary of the sudden death of my future son-in-law’s father. When Stephen and his mama visited us last weekend from Texas, we watched a video of Tom’s life (shown at his funeral) and I weep even now to know that Maggie will never have this man for a father-in-law while all those left behind still miss him so…
This is also the season that Mike’s good friend Ed Curtis died suddenly from a heart attack. When I took his wife, Faith, home from the hospital (carrying a manila envelope with his ‘personal effects’ – such a sobering reminder of what’s left) I’ll never forget pushing the ‘play’ button on her voice mail and hearing Ed’s call earlier in the day: “Hey hon, just wanted to call and tell you I’m praying you have a great day. See ya soon…” Sorta makes you want to phone someone right now, doesn’t it?
“Do not hurry as you walk with grief; it does not help the journey. Walk slowly, pausing often: do not hurry as you walk with grief. Be not disturbed by memories that come unbidden. Swiftly forgive; and let Christ speak for you unspoken words. Unfinished conversations will be resolved in Him. Be not disturbed. Be gentle with the one who walks with grief. If it is you, be gentle with yourself. Swiftly forgive; walk slowly, pausing often. Take time, be gentle as you walk with grief…” (Northumbria Community)
I know that death is an inevitable part of life. I’m one of those people who get frustrated with those who constantly say “if I die..” and I have to bite my tongue not to correct them with “It’s when I die, we’re all gonna die!” That’s reality. And the reality is also that the older we get, the more loved ones we have on the other side…
That’s why I love celebrating All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and All Soul’s Day (Nov. 2) because even though some think only the canonized are ‘saints’, the Bible recognizes all Christians as ‘saints.’ We remember the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us in the faith, stretching across the centuries and around the globe. “However hard it might seem to follow the way of Jesus in our own time and place, this is a day to remember that we may be crazy, but we are not alone.” (Common Prayer for Nov. 1st)
So…. if you, like me, find yourself teary occasionally as you trudge this journey of faith and fortitude, seeking to persevere amidst all that says give up, then remember those words, “we may be crazy, but we are not alone!” Maybe, just maybe, if we’re quiet enough, we can hear the angels singing…over us…and for us…
“Almighty God, with Whom still live the spirits of those who die in the Lord, and with Whom the souls of the faithful are in joy and felicity: I give You heartfelt thanks for the good examples of all Your servants, who, having finished their course in faith, now find rest and refreshment. May I, with all who have died in the true faith of Your Holy Name, have perfect fulfillment and bliss in Your eternal and everlasting glory; through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.” (Divine Hours)
Let saints on earth in concert sing
With those whose work is done;
For all the servants of our King
In heaven and earth are one. (Charles Wesley)
under the mercy, Cindy
©2011 Lucinda Secrest McDowell