I have been thinking a lot about the saints this week as we head into the celebration of All Saints’ Sunday. I thought about generations of Black Americans as I stood in drizzling rain for nearly four hours on Monday to cast my vote, the many who never had the opportunity, and those who gave their lives so that I could. Waiting in line seemed like a minor inconvenience all things considered.
I thought about the more than 220,000 Americans who lost their lives to Covid-19 and those whose hearts still ache for them—spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, parents, colleagues, friends, etc. And the many who have died from other diseases, natural disasters, police shootings, domestic violence—the list goes on.
I thought about Joyce Williams, Norman Wallace, Winson Josiah, Tommy Uzzo, and Many Iahn—members of our church family who passed away this year, and others before them.
And of course, I thought about my own parents, grandparents, sisters, grandson, aunts and uncles, teachers, mentors, and friends who are gone but never forgotten. It was helpful to hold all these people close this week, to think about their lives and struggles but also their perseverance in faith and how it guided their way in this old world.
I also thought a lot about the living, the saints who keep me going day by day, who walk along side and grace me with encouragement, love, and hope in their own sweet ways. Those who share joys and challenges up close and others who inspire from a distance but have their purpose just the same.
I hope you will intentionally make time over the coming days to remember the saints in your life, past and present. Remember them and give thanks. And for those yet alive, I encourage you to find a way to let them know how much they mean to you; send a card, write a note, call, text, email, or some expression of gratitude for their presence in your life. For their days are numbered just as ours, and soon it will be too late.
Remember that you are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses” who are cheering you on. May those memories inspire you to also be a cheerleader for others and to keep pressing your way even in these challenging times—perhaps most especially in these challenging times.
Grace and peace,