Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
Today is All Saints Day. This morning as I read All Saints Day meditations and sermons written by other pastors I realized anew just how blessed we have been here at FCC Selma. Unlike so many colleagues, I don’t have a list of people lost to the coronavirus who will be mourned today. I only have a very short list of people who continue to wait until it is safe to gather for a loved one’s memorial service.
Only a few of our folks have tested positive for Covid19, and they remained symptom free until their tests came back negative two weeks later. One older member was hospitalized with Covid, and just a few days later was sent to recover at the nursing home where he lives. To the best of my knowledge, there has been only one death due to Covid in an extended family connected with First Christian, and one hospitalization.
Mind you, we are a fairly small group of people - only around 100 people in a city of 25,000. And that city has had only 1,600 people test positive for the virus as of Thursday. Not that everyone in the city has been tested, of course. Most of the people who have been tested did so because they have symptoms, they have been exposed, or they are required to test for their jobs. Most of the rest of us have not.
On this All Saints Day, let us pray earnestly for all of the congregations who have lost saints to this pandemic. Let us continue running the race strengthened with hope, and unburdened with the sins that would weigh us down in this particular time - the sins of despair, frustration, anger, self-pity, and fear. Let us take our example from that great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, looking to Jesus in faith.
Loving God, on this All Saints Day we give you thanks for the saints you have put into our lives, for those who have gone before and those who are still with us. May we follow in their footsteps as we continue to run the race of life, and keep as our goal life in your kingdom on earth. Amen