Brothers and sisters,
This past Sunday, November 6th, was All Saints Sunday. We took time to remember, honor, and celebrate the lives of those Christians who came before us. We took time to remember the things they taught us and the good times we had with them. If you were here on Sunday or you tuned in to the livestream, you heard me us that phrase, “those Christians who came before us” a lot. And you also heard me talk about those saints teaching us things. But as I thought about this past Sunday, I realized that I really didn’t share many of the things I had been taught over the years from the saints within my own life. So, if you’ll indulge me for a bit, I figured I’d share a few things that Sunday got me thinking about.
The first thing that hit me after the service was when I walked back into my office and saw my certificate of ordination. I was ordained by my home church, FBC Goldsboro, and so the names of the folks on my ordination council are people I have incredibly fond memories of. My youth Sunday School teacher’s name is there—she was, and still is, the definition of warmth, kindness, patience, and hospitality. She also makes, hands down, the best sausage biscuits!
Bob’s and Bill’s names are on there. I remember the steadiness of their faith and their dedication to serving the church however they could. I worked with them a lot building handicapped ramps for folks all around Goldsboro and Wayne County. They embodied James’ belief that faith without works is dead—and their faith was very much alive! I also remember that Bob has a sweet tooth and Bill liked to “pay” me for my volunteer work with a McDonald’s cheeseburger and a Diet Mountain Dew.
There were also three pastors on my ordination council, though only two signed. Scott and Glenn’s names are there, my youth pastor and senior pastor, respectively. To write what they have meant to be personally would take far too many Illuminators to be practical. The first pastor I ever interned for, Alan, also sat on the council—he is the unsigned pastor, simply because he called in from Georgia to be a part of it. Those three taught me more about my faith, myself, and what it means to be a pastor, than I will probably ever fully understand. And since there seems to be an unspoken food theme in my recollections—Scott never turns down Thai food, Glenn loves country cooking, and Alan is a sandwich connoisseur!
Most of the folks on my ordination council are still with us. Bill has gone on to glory, but I love that I have gotten to know all of them. I am grateful for the things they taught me and the good times I’ve had with each of them. And as I sit and think about all the wonderful things God has done for each of us, I really do believe that stitching Christians together as a family is one of God’s greatest ideas.
Grace and peace,