November 3rd, 2023 | Rev. Alyce Parmer
November 1 is All Saints Day, a day we will celebrate as a church family this coming Sunday. As I reflected on Bishop Willimon’s message of last Sunday, I contemplated my own faith journey and remembered the hands that held mine as a child, whose lives, stories, values, and beliefs first planted faith seeds in me, as well as those who came later and watered those seeds during the various stages of my Christian journey.
We Methodists understand that God’s grace intersects with us long before we understand what it means to accept Jesus as a personal savior. We call that Prevenient Grace. Once we say “yes” to God’s invitation to follow Jesus we call that our Christian conversation or Justifying Grace, the moment that marks the beginning of our Christian journey, as we daily yield our will to God’s and ask for spiritual growth. We Methodists call that Sanctifying Grace, as we are set apart as disciples, seeking justice and meting out mercy while striving to live our lives as Jesus did.
All these stages of my Christian journey and likely yours too are marked by the intersection of those whose faith helped show us the path toward Christlikeness by love, forgiveness and example.
So, I’m remembering My Auntie Irene, the only Christian Scientist in my family, whose love and reverence for God’s creation instilled the same in me.
I’m remembering my Mother, sending me to Sunday School and Vacation Bible school and making sure we children knew the real meaning of Christmas.
I’m remembering my Father, who took me to church. I’m remembering two missionaries who told me their story of faith, that led me to become baptized.
I am grateful for the dear friends whose faith inspired and encouraged me.
I’m remembering too my own sweet husband and his sister whose unwavering faith helped me overcome a lot of doubts.
So many I remember are in that great cloud of witnesses I will think of this Sunday. Our faith is not solitary. It is communal, it is family, and All Saints Sunday reminds us of our own duty to pass it on to the next generation. I hope you remember those people in your own life who planted and watered your own faith seeds and honor them with a prayer of gratitude this Sunday. I’m humming “Thank You for Giving to The Lord” right now! Go YouTube it!