Today is All Saints Day. This is a day when we give thanks to God for the ‘Saints’ who have shaped our spiritual journey. None of us ended up here by chance. Our parents, grandparents, friends, pastors, spouses, and others have helped to shape our understanding of who God is and what our callings are in response to the love God has shown us in Christ.
I know that in my own life, I don’t often take time to thank God for working through those "saints of the church" to create and maintain faith in me.
Imagine that there are a number of these saints standing behind you as outlined in Hebrews 12. Close your eyes for a moment, and put faces on those saints. Remember the ones who perhaps "dragged you to church and Sunday School"; or the ones who first opened your eyes to the beauty of the Scriptures; the ones who took time to listen to you, even when what you had to say wasn't all that interesting; the ones who were there when hard times or tragedy struck your life or family.
We thank you for coming among us both on the cross in Galilee, and in the people we are remembering today in prayer. We thank you in particular for those people who have shaped our own faith in you (name these people).
May each of these saints that we have lifted up in prayer, rest in your eternal loving arms, now and forever.
Just as the people we remembered in prayer have shaped our lives, each of us is the instrument God is using to shape the lives of people around us. People come to know our loving saviour, through us. 1 Peter 5:1-4 says,
‘To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them – not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.’
Imagine that standing in front of us are people. They could be our relatives, neighbours, friends or members of our church. Spend a few more moments in prayer asking that God would work through us to shape their faith.
Just as you have worked through others to create and sustain faith in us, please give me the wisdom, courage, patience and strength to be your agent of grace for the people we remember in prayer just now. May these people continue to sense the support they have in our congregation - and may we be the ones through whom you work.