The Great Cloud of Witnesses
All Saints Day.
Given our family’s recent grief, this has had a special place in my heart this year. Hubby and I have a long line of faithful saints who have gone before us. We cherish their memory and seek after the examples they have set before us. Last Monday, we to remember how their light still shines.
Hubby has lost three grandparents. Their footprint as impacted him greatly. He sees the shoes they have left empty and strives to fill them. Together we recount their victories and losses and see their love for the Lord. Our path in life is greatly impacted by their guidance and their legacy. We are equipped by the wisdom and strength they left behind.
Even through we are not members of the Roman Catholic Church, we have remembered the Patron Saint of Hawaii, Father Damien. His work on the island of Molokai has made a deep impression on my heart. Father Damien went where others would not go, to a leper colony. He ministered to the people there and ultimately, gave his life in service to them. I have been encouraged to live a life being the hands and feet of Christ to the world around me.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV
I don’t know exactly what role the departed saints play in my life today. I do know that they are/will pour out my prayers before the Lord on His throne. I know that they are witnessing my run and God’s faithfulness. I know that they are part the Body of Christ for all eternity and that they point me to Him.
As a Protestant, much of my childhood neglected any study of the saints. I see now that this was in error. Why would it be right for me to ignore brothers and sisters in Christ? They have run the race and finished well. They labored for the Kingdom and it is only right that we honor what God did through them.
This day is a reminder to look ahead to the legacy I will leave. Will others be moved towards the cross because of the life I have lived? Will glory be given to the Name as people remember me?
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, – Ephesians 1:13-16, ESV
We should not stop remembering the saints because they believed. We are blessed by their examples. To recount them strengthen our faith and increase our joy.
How have saints (either canonized or in your family) encouraged you?