Content written by Rev. Mike Hunter, CCA
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name O Jesus, be forever blest.
Every year the Academy Awards does what the church is supposed to do…remember.
I stay up, enduring all the inappropriate comments, goofy jokes, embarrassing fashion, and cheesy acceptance speeches just to get to the part that most closely resembles good church. Each year the Academy presents a meaningful in memoriam to those who have died in the past year. Some are headline actors, others more obscure writers or producers or costume designers…but all are equal during this poignant five minute reflection.
Everything stops. Their image and their name have just a few seconds on the screen…it is a moment where the fast pace of Hollywood pauses. As quiet, reflective music washes over everyone who watches, the point is obvious: Had these folks not shared their talents where would the profession be?
All Saints Day was Monday. In recent days, I’ve heard several church folks mourning out loud a little. The loss of these saints has some folks thinking not only about the departed, but about the hole they left in a congregation or community. There was more than a hint of sadness in those reflective voices; it was almost as if I heard a soft resignation in their tone. They were wondering out loud if the church was going to be ok. They were concerned about the future.
While it is true these folks will no longer walk the halls…they will not be offering any prayers or greetings or holding positions of leadership or influence… their monetary gifts are no longer a part of the financial picture.
But others are here.
When Christ departed the twelve, there was serious concern among those Disciples. They were unsure, at first, if the kingdom could or would continue.
But it did. In fact, it was through the work of those first Disciples that the rest of the world came to know Jesus. They took the message to the ends of the earth, as they knew it then.
And not one of them tried to be Jesus. They just told the faith and lived the faith, as best they could…as themselves.
As much as we would like the dear saints to still be among us, we know they can’t be. And if you are feeling any pressures to become one of them, please don’t. That’s not what is required of you…
You aren’t supposed to try to be THEM…you are supposed to be YOU.
The next generation of this church and this community will be looking to you…you will be writing the next chapters. Don’t compare yourself to any of these saints.
In time, be worthy of the in memoriam that will remember you. That is all any of us can do.