Hi Broadway Family,
This last week in worship, we celebrated "All Saints Sunday." This was a day to honor our dear and departed beloveds. We celebrated in the bulletin, where names were listed in print. Also, there were two stations in the sanctuary where people were invited to write names onto ribbons and pin those ribbons onto white fabric banners stating "Unbound and Free." Additionally, we lit a candle in honor of all who have passed.
I found all of this quite moving. And, it got my heart reflecting on those who I have lost from this life. I think often, especially, of my Mom's Dad, Mel Severson. He was known as a man of few words, whose quiet and gentle nature endeared him to the sheep he cared for. He taught me about integrity, a lesson that I reflect on often whenever I'm making major life decisions. His influence continues on today in my life, even though he has passed on. Our actions live on after we leave these bodies. I'll be mentioning Grandpa Mel more on November 20th, when I preach on Stewardship Sunday.
Many religions honor ancestors as part of their practices, not just Christianity. I think this is important spiritual work, because it can give us a sense of continuity, a sense of gratitude for all that our forbears have done for us and taught us. It can also remind us that someday, we too will be ancestors. Our actions have consequences that will ripple through the lives of those who follow us. And these lines of ancestry need not be biological only. For example, Jon Wesley is a spiritual ancestor to those of the Methodist faith. His wise teachings still influence the faith, and will continue to do so over time. One need not have children or grandchildren to impact the lives of others, and those impacts live on.
Similarly, the work we do as a church creates a legacy that continues. This is part of why I'm so passionate about the social justice initiative we are creating! Jesus calls on us to love our neighbors, and that call extends beyond the church walls. We have an opportunity to show our love through actions that improve the lives of others. This love has the potential to ripple out, and to ripple down through time.
This week, I invite you to reflect on those whose lives have impacted yours, and how you can positively impact the lives of those of others. How can you honor your familial and spiritual ancestors through your words and actions? Please feel free to contact me with any of your reflections, including sharing with me about those you have loved who have left this mortal life. My "door" is open, and I am always happy to hear from you!