One of you surprised me the other day by mentioning something I had said in a sermon I preached several years ago. I could hardly recall the sermon, but the words I had offered had somehow made a home in another person’s mind or heart. I was touched, and reminded of how often we are unaware of how a word, deed, or small gesture may be received and remembered long after being offered.
This Sunday is a day of celebration in the life of the church. Our Sunday liturgies fall this day on November 1, the Day of All Saints. It is the tradition of the church to remember those who have died in the faith since last November 1 on this feast day. At St. John’s we also incorporate the tradition of All Souls’ Day, November 2, as we lift up the names of many loved ones who have gone before us.
We can hear the word “saints” and think only of spiritual giants. But my guess is that you, like me, have those saints in your life who may have once shared a word, or did something that remains with you and influences the way you live your life today. I encourage you this week to remember the beloved saints of your lives whose influence may have spanned many years. But I also encourage you to think of those persons – perhaps a teacher, perhaps a neighbor, perhaps even a stranger – who once said or did something that made a difference in your life. Thank God for those saints. And thank God that you and I can each make a difference as well, even when we are not aware that our words, our deeds, and our gestures may be a great blessing to others.