Faces on Faith: Those who made a difference are still there
“This feeling of being loved and supported by the universe in general and by certain recognizable spirits in particular is blissThe spirit of our helpers incarnates in us, making us more ourselves by extending us far beyond. And to that spirit there is no ‘beginning’ as we know it (although we might finally ‘know’ a historical figure who at one time expressed it) and no end. Always a hello, from the concerned spiritual ancestor you may not even have known you had-but this could strike at any time. Never a good-bye.”
-Alice Walker, Living by the Word (London: The Women’s Press, 1988), p.98
For Christians, Nov. 1 is celebrated as All Saints Day. It used to be that this day was for the “named saints” while the next day, All Souls Day, was for the rest of us. Now, though most churches combine the two into one celebration, often on the first Sunday of November.
Even if I had not been a pastor I would have not had any trouble remembering this day as it was my father’s birthday. Were he to be here in the flesh, he would be 103 years old. He lived a good long life and died at almost 85.
Christians confess their belief in the “communion of saints,” the idea that we are all connected to one another; going back to the very beginning, that we are part and parcel of a great and glorious gathering of those who have lived their lives on earth and are no longer here and those of us that are still here living our lives in the here and now. It’s always good to feel connected; to feel a part of something that was and is and will be. Alice Walker makes that point in the quote above.
There is a hymn, “Surely the Presence of the Lord Is in This Place” which is often sung as a prelude to prayer:
“Surely the presence of the Lord is in this
place, I can feel His mighty power and His
grace. I can hear the brush of
angels’ wings, I see glory on each face;
Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”
Even as the presence of the Holy One is always with us, so too is the presence of all those who have gone before us. The New Testament tells us that they surround us like a cloud of witnesses and help us to run the race that is set before us. I’m grateful for all the “saints” who have made a difference in my life and have been there for me in my race, or in my case, walk!
Think about those who have made a difference for you and remind yourself that they are still there for you.