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A reflection on All Saints' Day

Light for the Way seriesWe invite you to take a peek inside our weekly Light for the Way devotional series provided for staff.

By Pastor Chris Wheatley, PHS Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services

“God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.” —Ephesians 1:20-21

Today is All Saints’ Day. And due to the soaring popularity of Halloween as a holiday, which of course literally simply means “All Hallows’ Eve,” or the day before All Saints’ Day, more people ponder the meaning of this day than have in decades.  
 
Generally, it gets a very secular treatment. This is a day to consider those who have died, especially those who were close to us. It remembers them as they were, recognizes the ways that their lives still affect us, and considers the impact that they, though dead, still have on the future.  
 
For those who have recently lost someone, this is often a way to recognize them in preparation for the holidays when their absence will be more keenly felt. The first Thanksgiving or Christmas without a loved one can be quite hard, and the focus on family and togetherness can make that separation all the more painful.
 
All of which is good and important, but it misses the actual point of All Saints’ Day. This day, to Christians, is not a remembrance of all who have died, but specifically of those who will live forever. It is a day to celebrate “saints,” literally those whom God has made “holy,” those who are joined with Christ’s Resurrection and who will live with him in the World to Come.
 
That is the meaning of our reading from Ephesians — that God’s power at work in Christ not only means that he rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, but that his life continues eternally. And that those who follow him will truly follow him, in life, in death and beyond.
 
This year, I invite you to take a moment to contemplate not only any saints in your personal life, but also those whom you have served right here at Presbyterian Homes & Services. By virtue of your calling with us, you have probably interacted with somebody in the last year who is — right now — sharing in the authority of Christ in the world without end. Let us remember them fondly, grieve them appropriately and thank God for the free gift of eternal life made possible through Our Lord, Jesus.

Rev. Chris Wheatley serves PHS as Senior Director of Pastoral Care Services. He is an ordained Lutheran pastor and has served in hospice, eldercare, hospital, HIV/AIDS and congregational settings. He and his wife Nicole are perpetually outnumbered by cats and Dobermans.

The Light for the Way series provides staff with an examination of a biblical reading to deepen our focus on scripture. Thank you for engaging with this series as we seek wisdom through prayer and reflection as a Christian Ministry.
 

Find more in the Light for the Way series:

‘For he is gracious and compassionate’
Get to know us: a Christian ministry
Introducing Light for the Way, a new devotional series

 

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