Bishop Ward shares a story about a saint who lived among us as we prepare to celebrate All Saints’ Day on November 1.
Grace peace and joy to you on this All Hallows’ Eve.
The last day of October is Halloween. And today, children have great fun as they dress up and trick-or-treat as they go from door to door or gather at churches for “Trunk or Treat.” Mountains of candy are collected that will last for many days.
Tomorrow, we in the church celebrate All Saints’ Day. On this day, Nov. 1, we give thanks to God for the great communion of all saints, those living among us and those who are in heaven. On All Saints’ Day, we remember the invitation of God toward holiness. We give thanks that we are born again and that as we live day by day, we are given through God’s grace, greater holiness as we seek all God’s giftedness.
Saints, described by the Bible, are people who live toward God, people who love God, people who bear the light and life of Christ in their own life. Saints are ordinary people like you and me, yet saints do extraordinary things. Our smallness is covered, immersed by God’s great abundance, mercy and love. Our lives have great effect because of God’s light and love in us.
One such saint was Bill Wells, retired pastor in the North Carolina Conference. Bill died in June at the age of 93. In the tribute shared at his funeral in June, this wonderful story was shared. Bill was a college student at Duke University and took a life-saving class. He was not a very good swimmer. Coach Eddie Cameron gave him a passing grade, however, he said; “I am giving you this grade if you promise never to be a lifeguard.” Bill served in many ways across the years and in retirement, he used his ability at swimming not to point to trophies on his office wall. It seemed he never won any swimming trophies. Instead, he was a part of an initiative in Scotland County to make sure that every fourth grader had the swimming skills to avoid accidental drowning. Bill taught swimming to fourth graders until he was 91 years of age. This is a picture of sainthood. This is a picture of what God does in us. This is the abundance and generosity to which we are all invited.
On this All Saints’ Day, we give thanks for the saints of God. Indeed, we want to be a saint too.