Today is All Saints' Day, and we’ll celebrate the feast - and two years of weekly worship - with baptisms and worship this Sunday. We will remember those saints who have gone to be with the Lord over the past year, giving thanks to God for their lives of faithfulness.
This All Saints’ Day is particularly poignant having just returned from Israel. Walking the streets and hills where so many saints have prayed in public and private, praying at the Lion Gate where it is believed St. Stephen - the first Christian martyr - was dragged and stoned, and listening to the voices of prayers and songs from pilgrims all over the holy land, cultivated in me a view of God’s Church and his people that transcends my own little sphere of influence. It gave me pause and made me consider my own love for Jesus.
Saints, by definition, are those through whom God’s light shines. The New Testament writers refer to those who are in Christ as “saints.” And yet throughout history there have been men and women of heroic faith who gave witness to their love for Jesus in unique ways, some by the shedding of their own blood in martyrdom. The Church has seen fit to honor and celebrate these saints, and we do well not only to celebrate them but emulate them and draw strength and courage from their life in Christ.
We celebrate and emulate these saints especially as we partner with God to build his Church in East Dallas. As the risen Christ draws men and women to himself causing the light of the glory of God to shine through more and more people, he endows us with strength and courage in the cloud of witnesses who surround us even now.
We have a big and exciting year ahead of us at All Saints East Dallas. As we take ownership of our finances, governance, organizational development and become our own church, we will be called by God to new heights and depths of heroic faith. He will call us to witness to his love and faithfulness in obedience and sacrifice. And he will do this so he can call more saints, drawing more dear ones into his kingdom, and shining his light through you and me so that those living in darkness can be brought to his marvelous light.