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The Importance of All Saints Day

11/1/2018  •  saints  •  Written by Don Hood

I was born and reared as a United Methodist. As I grew in the Wesleyan tradition, I became aware over time of the significance of All Saints Day. It was a journey of understanding, wondering who these saints were and how they got there. Initially I assumed that they had to be on the same level with St. Peter or maybe St. Francis of Assisi. Then I began to understand they could include regular faithful Christians from the past. Finally, I came to see they were people whom I had personally encountered. Their lives affected me in positive and powerful ways. I began to see the saints around me. They form a living link with the chain of saints that stretch back before them.  

I visit almost one hundred of our older church members in nursing homes, rehab facilities and private homes scattered over four counties and many cities. In that process, I have come to know them and hear their faith stories. I have come to know them as the living saints of our church. I see in them the continuation of the faith of the fifteen or so founding members of our church in 1886. Those founders possessed a “spiritual DNA,” if you will, that has been passed on to generation upon generation of our church members. I witness it daily in these older members’ lives, who carry it still.

So many seeds we plant we never see come to fruition. I doubt that our church’s founders could have envisioned the growth and impact they would have. FUMCR has survived the Spanish American War, World War I, The Great Depression, World War II, the Korean Conflict, and the Vietnam War. New challenges face our unity again today. However, as Paul stated so well, and our forebearers believed, “Nothing can separate us from the love of God…” With God’s help, we will continue to pass that spiritual DNA on.  On All Saints Day we pause to remember our own saints, who were fueled by the Spirit of God and on whose shoulders we stand today, lest we boast of our own efforts.