Posts Tagged saints

All Saints’ Day Devotional – First Baptist Church ENews

by Mitch Carnell (Photo by Merv Gibson)

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.  (Revelations 7:9 (RSV)

These decaying and misaligned tombstones give wittiness to the saints who have gone before us. Their souls are at peace. As we celebrate their lives, we reflect on all the good that they accomplished and how their influence continues today.

All Saints’ Day was originated for this purpose by Pope Boniface IV in 609 AD on May 13. Pope Gregory, III changed the date to November 1 during the mid-eighth century. After the reformation Protestants retained the observance to honor those who died in the last year.

We draw courage and strength remembering those whose lives we celebrate. Many demonstrated tremendous faith while enduring great hardships. No one can know the inner struggles of another person’s life, but we can know with certainty that they are triumphant over death. As we light a candle in honor of each of these, we light it in recognition that the light of her or his life will never be extinguished.

Prayer:

Dear Holy Father, as we celebrate the lives of our loved ones who now abide with you, help us to lead our lives in such a way that we will illuminate the path that will lead others to you. Amen.

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Saints Are People Who Belong Entirely to God – Catholic News Service

Speaking to the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square for the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope said saints are people who belong entirely to God, they carry the seal of God in their lives and on their persons.

Pointing out that we are all children of God and that we received the seal of our heavenly father with the sacrament of Baptism, Pope Francis said that saints are those who have lived their lives in the grace of Baptism, keeping that seal intact, behaving like children of God, trying to imitate Jesus.

“Saints – Pope Francis continued – are examples to imitate”. And noting that saints are not only those who have been canonized, but can be anyone from next door neighbors, to members of our own families or others we have met as we live our ordinary lives, the Pope said we must be grateful to them and to God for having given them to us as examples of how to live and die in fidelity to God and to the Gospel.

“How many good people have we met in our lives; how often do we exclaim: ‘this person is a saint!’… These are the saints who live next door, not the ones who are canonized, but the ones who live with us” he said.

Imitating their gestures of love and mercy, he said, is a bit like perpetrating their presence in this world. Acts of tenderness, of generous help, of closeness can appear insignificant, but in God’s eyes they are eternal, “because love and mercy are stronger than death” he said.

After the recitation of the Angelus prayer the Pope reminded the faithful that on Sunday afternoon he will travel to Rome’s Verano Cemetery where he will celebrate Holy Mass in memory of the dead.

The Pope said that by visiting the city’s main cemetery he intends to spiritually join all those who in these days will be praying on the tombs of their loved ones in every part of the world.

 

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333 Years of Glorious Service and Counting

Mitch, Jane & Arthur Caliandro 1-21-08On Sunday October 11, 2015 First Baptist Church of Charleston celebrated 333 years of glorious service to God, to the community, and to the world. Not only that but it launched a building campaign for the next 333 years. Think of that. It is not a museum church. It is a church vibrant with dedicated members and leaders. For the historians the service should have been on September 27th. The current sanctuary was dedicated in 1822 during the pastorate of Richard Furman.

Worshiping in this oldest Baptist Congregation in the South, in this time loved city of Charleston fills one with a certain sense of permanence and continuity. Both have been here a long time and neither is going anywhere.

I have been a member of this body for 50 years. I know that God brought me here. It is family. For most of the time it has been a good fit. For all of the time it has nourished my soul. I am indebted to the great saints of the past who made this place possible. I am inspired by some of the great saints of the present who labor on. I single some of these out in my book, Our Father: Discovering Family. I could never name all of them. Members of the congregation are busy with mission project both minor and major. They are really too numerous to mention but all of them are part of what makes First Baptist, First Baptist. For example, recently Emory Hyatt, Minister to Children, suggested that each Sunday school class give a small gift once each month to the day school teacher with whom we share space. Just another but thoughtful way to say, “We appreciate all that you do.” God is at work when the people of God are at work.

The picture is Mitch Carnell, Jane Hamrick, Dr. Arthur Caliandro of the Marble Collegiate Church in New York when he was a speaker for the John A. Hamrick Lectureship.

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We believe in the communion of saints – Dr. Molly Marshall – Baptist News Global

Recalling those who have gone ahead of us like navigators, to lead the way.

By Molly T. Marshall

A cluster of important days crowds the liturgical calendar in late October and early November. We will celebrate All Hallows Eve, All Saints and All Souls during this week, and it is a good time to give thanks for our forebears in faith whose witness continues to inspire us. I will spare you the church history lecture, but these ecclesial holidays go way back.

In the Middle Ages these days were given to remembering the dead, and all the accoutrements of Halloween (witches, black cats, ghosts and, more recently, zombies) came later. The earlier versions included fun and revelry; we are not the only generation to find reasons to dress silly and have a good party!

As Baptists devote more attention to the Christian year, we could profit from celebrating these important days. Some congregations use Memorial Day as a time of remembering those who have departed in the prior year — solemnly reading their names, often accompanied by a tolling bell. Why not make the Sunday nearest All Saints a time of giving thanks for their lives? It would be a way of keeping good company for some of them!

Celebrating Eucharist on that day could further enrich the service. The church gathers with Christ’s whole Body — with those whose rest is won and those still running the race. It would be a way to draw near to the dead in Christ as we remember their graceful imprint on our lives. Death cannot sever the unity of the Body of Christ.

The lectionary reading for All Saints gives us a vision of the faithful gathered in the life to come: “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10).

This encompassing body expresses the hope of Christians: that ultimately we will be found in God’s safekeeping.

Along with confessing our belief in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting, Christians confess that we believe in the communion of saints, a “Christian symbol that speaks of profound relationship,” in the words of Elizabeth Johnson in Friends of God and Prophets.

This relationship is surely enjoyed by those who have departed in faith, but the communion of saints speaks of an ongoing connection between those alive in Christ this side of death and those treasured in memory and hope. It is possible to be near to them both, in the thinking of theologian Jürgen Moltmann. Because we are the one Body of Christ, we are closer together than we may realize.

Remembering those who have shaped our lives is an instructive spiritual discipline. This past Sunday I preached at First Baptist Church of Ann Arbor, Mich.; there I encountered the daughter of my beloved teacher, Dr. Dale Moody, of blessed memory, professor of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Dr. Moody helped me integrate Scripture and science in creative ways, which was a lifelong scholarly passion for him. He encouraged me as a woman in ministry and theologian, even as he continued to interrogate a patriarchal system where women were not welcome in the pulpit or as professors in theology. It was his advocacy that helped me become the first woman to teach theology at Southern. Seeing his daughter, Linda, prompted an overflow of gratitude for this saint in my life.

Even more important than our remembering these who have moved through death to life is the reality that God remembers them. As the Psalmist says, “The Lord redeems the life of God’s own servants; none of those who take refuge in God will be condemned (Psalm 34:22). God knows the names of those who have been largely forgotten; God remembers them and creates a space for them in God’s eternity. For this, we give thanks.

As we celebrate All Saints in our churches, we recall those who have gone before us with profound trust in the Living God. They died with confidence that God was making room for them in God’s own eternity.

And so we pray with St. Cyprian: “We must not weep for our brothers and sisters whom the call of the Lord has withdrawn from this world, since we know that they are not lost, but have gone on ahead of us; they have left us like travelers, navigators, in order to lead the way ….”

Communing with them and with those with whom we make our slow way across the earth reminds us that we need their saintly ways to shine light for our pilgrimage.

OPINIONViews expressed in Baptist News Global columns and commentaries are solely those of the authors.

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