PASSING IT ALONG
Family and friends who know my mother, and who knew my grandmother, often tell me how much I look like my mother when she was my age, and how much we both look like my grandmother. Those genes run strong in all three of us, apparently. Humorously, most people tend to say I act more like my father – even my mother says this. Sometimes she says it with her hands on her hips in a rather exasperated tone of voice. My father and I share many interests, a similar approach to problem-solving, a way of looking at the world, a love of logic, and – sometimes – a tendency to discuss things well beyond what anyone else would find interesting!
Families pass along all kinds of things: interests, habits, traditions, secrets, resemblances, and more. We carry these things forward from generation to generation, hoping they will be our legacies from those who came before us to those who will follow us. It might be the family silver, or the secret recipe for bolognese sauce.
In the early church, the disciples needed to pass along the message of Jesus to others.
Following the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the disciples for 40 days; eating with them, reminding them of his teachings, reassuring them. And then he was gone. Again. But this time he wasn’t coming back – at least not for a while. But he gave them a mission: Go. Make disciples. Baptize them. Tell them what I told you. The Holy Spirit will give you the power. And I’ll be with you through the end of this age.
And the Holy Spirit empowered them, and they spread the message of Jesus, and the church grew, and grew, and grew. They were among the saints who came before us, who provided a legacy for us, who laid the foundation upon which we stand.
But saints are not only those who do mighty deeds. Saints are those who persevere in their faith, through the good times and the bad.
We all have the same power as the first disciples did from which to draw: the power of the Spirit. We all have the promise of Jesus to be with us, now and always. And we all have the same mission to go, and make disciples, and baptize them, and tell them what Jesus taught his disciples.
This Sunday we celebrate and honor those saints who’ve gone before us, those who have paved the way, whose faithful service allows us to worship as we do. We celebrate that great cloud of witnesses who’ve joined the Church Triumphant and who now rest from their labors. Not only will we specifically honor those in our congregational community who have died this past year, but everyone will have the opportunity to come forward to light a candle in honor of a saint in their own life as they take communion. As always, First Methodist and The Open Door practice an open Table, where all are welcome to take communion.
Join us Sunday as we continue in our sermon series on “The Story,” hearing how the disciples carried on the legacy of Jesus in the early church, and celebrating the saints of our own community. The Morning Connection is at 8:45am, Classic Worship is at 10am (both in the sanctuary); and The Open Door (our informal/contemporary service) meets at 11:15am at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Don’t forget to set your clocks back an hour Saturday night as we observe Daylight Savings Time this weekend!
Pastor Teri Crouse