Please forward this error screen youth aflame manual for discipleship pdf 199. November 2, 2017 By Sharron R.
Theme: God’s faithful and generous people take their place among the saints of all times and all seasons to be faithful stewards and partners in the renewal of all creation. Key Scriptures: After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands.
All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted. A colleague in North Dakota once shared with me the symbolism behind the half-moon-shaped altar rails found in many prairie churches of Scandinavian heritage.
The current congregation gathers around the visible half-circle rail, while the circle is completed beyond time and space by those who have already died and who are yet to come. The wholeness of that transcendent circle of all the saints makes a beautiful and powerful statement about the faith we profess and the hope to which we cling. The readings appointed for this day offer a fine opportunity to explore the concept of sainthood in its various expressions. The answer, of course, is both many things and the one thing that matters.
A saint is someone whose image is stamped on a medallion or carved into statuary, or else who died a gruesome death for his or her faith in Jesus Christ. I remember as a young adult reading a battered second-hand copy of Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler and being fascinated by the entries therein but also daunted by the scope of the saints’ witness and lives.
Yes, we may be struggling, we may be faltering, but we are part of that communion of saints right along with the apostles, Augustine, Perpetua, Felicity, Jerome, Hildegard, Oscar Romero, Mother Teresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and a host of other folk. We, dear friends, are God’s children, and this is very good news indeed. John reminds us of this fact in this week’s epistle reading from 1 John.
We are loved, we are called children of God, and even though we may not fully comprehend what it means to be part of that great communion and never-ending story, we are nonetheless included. This week, consider how you might engage the senses to help the saints with whom you serve to see and comprehend their role in the great salvation narrative.
Invite the congregation to share stories of those who have influenced their faith and who have shown them the love of Jesus. Invite them to write those names on slips of paper to be gathered into a beautiful bowl that may then be placed on the altar. If you are fortunate enough to have one of those half-moon altar rails be sure to share the symbolism. Finally, consider how you might make a connection between the lives of all saints and Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount.
What examples of everyday saints can we point to? How can each one of us as precious children of God witness to this great love and saving grace of which we are heirs? Indeed, in the company of such saints past, present, and future there is much about which we may rejoice. Revelation 7:9-17: John’s apocalyptic vision of the great multitude praising God must have been a hopeful and healing balm for his audience of persecuted Christians.