4 November 2018John 11:32-44
When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' (v. 32)
In many of our churches, as we turn the calendar over into November, we shall be remembering those whom we have loved in life and lost, for a while, in death. November is very much the season of remembering with All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Remembrance Sunday falling within it. As Methodist people we do not have a great tradition of engaging with the saints in a formal manner. We do, though, name as saints, those who have inspired us, supported us, loved us in the faith. We recognise that we are the people who we are because of the influence of the people we have met along the way. The author of the epistle to the Hebrews gives us the language of the cloud of witnesses, church tradition speaks of the Communion of Saints, and we are comforted by the knowledge of a continued connectedness with those who have gone before us.
The hymn assigned for today inspires us to thankfulness and hope and gives us words to express them. John Bell inspires us to remember all those saints who have shown the love of God through the way they lived their lives. He challenges us to consider not just the saints who have been formally recognised through the processes of the Church, but the everyday saints who have led us on our way. His hymn is a celebration of the faith of the ordinary people, whose lives reflect the glory and grace of God, who put others before themselves, who put themselves on the line for the sake of the gospel. Our lives are, in Christ, blessed by their having passed by this way.
- Do you find the traditional image of the saints helpful in your faith, or are they too remote or too ‘special’?
- Who in your life do you recognise as a saint because of the way in which they have inspired you or supported you in the faith?