By DEREK RUMBOL
Wednesday 04 November 2020
We are grateful to Elizabeth and Clive for enabling us to think about the origins and meaning of Halloween and All Saints Day. I would just like to add a personal testimony of thanks to those down through the ages and in every continent who have inspired and encouraged me in my walk with God as I have sought to follow Jesus. For in the Bible Christians are called saints. For example in the church at Ephesus and Philippi (chapter 1 verse one in both cases).
There were some wise people in the church where I came to faith and others later in life in another church who listened to me and helped me seek the next steps. One wise deacon sent me a postcard of encouragement when I was due to lead a midweek service in my home church for the first time. He quoted Jeremiah 1:8 - “do not be afraid of their faces for I am with you” .
Then there was a member in the church where I was minister who gave wise counsel when I was being asked to leave that church and take up another position connected with work overseas.
Time and space prevent my mentioning so many others who have helped me by word, prayer or example.
Add on to that number those who have become my inspiration through
reading the story of their lives. Would that I had space and you had patience for me to list their names. Just to mention two: Baptist deacon Sam Sharpe exhorting fellow slaves to fight for freedom in Jamaica, and William Wilberforce battling against members of parliament who owned slaves, determined to fight for their liberation.
And I don’t think I am being opinionated to believe that there are some in our church now for whom I have been an example, not perfect but a work in progress! After all, what is ageing if you can’t help others!
Loving God, we thank you for the people in every age and in every place who have lived out your gospel as shining lights in a dark world. We remember those whom we have known who have shown us the way of love and given us insights, comfort or challenge. We thank you for those who have died and rejoice that in you we are all made one on earth and in heaven.