Sunday, November 01, 2015

HONOR THE COMMON SAINTS OF YESTERYEAR AND TODAY: SCS No. 60


Sunday, NOVEMBER 1, 2015, Stoney Creek Sermonette: Number 60


PRAYER for Today:
Father, we know You are able to heal the hearts and souls of all of us who are broken. We ask for Your will to be done and that we may act saintly towards our fellow sojourners so that they might see a little of You in us.  It is in His name we pray. Amen.


SCRIPTURE for Today: Acts 9:32 King James Version (KJV)


32 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.


SERMON for Today:


Today is All Saints’ Day which is one of the many Holy Days in the Revised Common Lectionary. All Saints’ Day has been observed since the ninth century.  The early English name for it was “All Hallows” – that is “All Holies” – and it is from this that we get the popular name “Halloween” given to the previous day, October 31. Although looking around you yesterday you would have been hard pressed to see that it had anything to do with a Holy Day or with the word “saint.”  More likely the word “haint” would have come to mind than “saint.”


The word “saint” comes from the Greek hagios - ἅγιος and means “set apart”. As used in the New Testament, the term refers, not to a special class of the especially holy, but to all the people of God. We are all called saints as you can see from our scripture lesson.


John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, enjoyed and celebrated All Saints Day. In a journal entry from November 1, 1767, Wesley calls it “a festival I truly love.” On the same day in 1788, he writes, “I always find this a comfortable day.” The following year he calls it “a day that I peculiarly love.”  This is probably true because Wesley was always on the side of the common person.


This is a day to recognize and show our appreciation for all the saints that have gone before us and for all those who labor along beside us now.  Growing up in a missionary family I knew and know today a lot of saints/servants in the kingdom of God.


Let me just tell you about a few of the folks in my life who are saints who are all living. Some living with Jesus right now (don’t get caught up with whether or not my theology about when folks go to heaven is right) and some still down on earth.  This is just a partial list to give you an idea of what I mean.


My dad moved us from a comfortable life in a small town in Kentucky to a mission station in southern Africa when I was 11 years old.  He fully believed in living a life that reflected the calling of Jesus and spent his life living as a saint/servant.  


My wife’s dad served in the Pacific theater during World War II and lay wounded on the battle field for 24 hours playing dead to stay alive.  He lived his life with multiple disabilities with dignity and showing Christian charity and kindness to those around him.  He welcomed me into his home with a smile.  Just like Jesus said to do to every stranger.


I had an uncle who was a Baptist deacon.  That was not all he was, but I remember my Uncle Art who died young for how devoted he was to his church and to his family.  I have seen a lot of pretend (Sunday only Christians), but I believe with all my heart that my mom’s brother was a “full week” saint/servant of the Savior he served.


My mom’s youngest sister probably believes more deeply than I ever will and I have a cousin who when I was so sick last year had her church pray for me and the cards kept coming to my mail box long after I was almost well.


Uncle Den was the doctor on the mission where I grew up.  He died last year, but all the lives he touched saw a glimpse of Jesus.  Even the witch doctor who had a village about seven miles from the mission station sent his wives and his children to the hospital to be treated by Uncle Den.


All Saints’ Day is truly to honor all saints/servants.


May God Richly Bless Your Life This Week and For Evermore. Amen.


  
© Ed Cooper, November 1, 2015, Stoney Creek, Tennessee
  All rights reserved

(Ed Cooper is an ordained Elder and minister in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ which are a part of the Restoration Movement started in Appalachia in the early 1800’s.  Ed started preaching as a teenager in the village churches around Mashoko Mission, Zimbabwe, Africa when he was there with his parents in the early 1960’s.)

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