Faith Stories: A Day with the Saints
To be honest, it was my initial intent to give glory to God for 19 years of marriage to Paul through the November 1 altar flowers. If you know either of us hard-headed disciples you know that this is quite a miracle, for which he and I are deeply grateful. But after our Tuesday anniversary celebration came and passed, the week wore on and Sunday drew closer, it was apparent to both Paul and me that we were to give glory to God with altar flowers in keeping with the spirit of the day – All Saints’ Day – for all saints known and unknown.
In the Methodist tradition, All Saints’ Day is a time to remember Christians of every time and place, honoring those who lived faithfully and shared their faith with us (See www.umc.org). Just as John Wesley, I, too, believe that we have much to learn from these saints. I believe All Saints’ Day to be a beautiful day to remember “all the saints who from their labors rest” and the contribution that each, known or unknown, have made and continue to make to the Church universal.
Continue to make…
Many of you have heard me speak of my grandmother. I realize I do that often. But this woman, Betty, was a great saint of my mine and continues to serve in such capacity, even though she is no longer among us in this world (she is living her reward, thanks be to God). You see, the lessons that she taught me throughout my life have molded me and shaped me into who I am and affect all aspects of my life, from how I love my husband and raise my children, to how I teach the children in Sundayschool, to how I will serve my faith family, to how I love my neighbor, to how I revere the Word of God and honor Jesus, my King. Her sainthood as devoted and faithful continues to guide me in my life, and in that way, this saint Maw Maw lives on.
I suspect that many of you experience the same for your personal saints, and recalled the same as we lit the candles on the altar, representing each of our St. John’s family that have come into their sainthood over the last year… how these saints have influenced us, individually and collectively, subtly or maybe quite loudly; in personal, intimate ways or maybe publicly to the joy of the congregation, or even the world. Each saint recalled in our hearts and minds on All Saints Day will continue to serve as saints today and tomorrow and well into the future, in keeping with the perfect and beautiful mystery of our faith.
Each flower in the All Saints Day bouquet was deliberately chosen, and with the great help of florist, Kim, something undoubtedly beautiful graced our sight – the gray and rainy day outside was radiantly juxtaposed by the life of the flowers, among the dancing light of the candles. Certainly in their simplest, we see the beauty of the flowers as God’s creation, but looking a little deeper, also in their arrangement and imagery:
- Bells of Ireland: Bells to recall the joyful noises of the saints, as the bright, after-rain, life-reflecting lime green stalks reach to heaven.
- Spider Mums: A firework of flowers, with many thin petals, chosen to signify the radiance and glory of the love of God apparent through the saints.
- Hydrangea: A tightly joined collection of delicate, individually designed, scalloped-edged blossoms, bound together as a collection; its strength and resiliency improved in interconnection, and striking beauty magnified by its bold presence.
God blessed me with the joy to gather these altar flowers in His name. It is my prayer that you will feel and know His amazing grace, and the joy of the saints, who from their labors rest, in the glorious company of God our Father and His heavenly hosts, for all eternity.