“In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:11-12 CEB
This morning one of the saints of a church I serve passed on to greater glory at the golden age of 95. She was not a celebrity, never ran for office, didn’t do the really noticeable things that so many of us seem to want in our lives. But she was an amazing woman who had no idea that she WAS amazing.
Someone like this is every pastor’s blessing. She was a great baker, and her filled date sugar cookies were the star of every bake sale we ever had. People flocked to the church’s bake sales looking to buy them before they were all gone. More than that, she loved her church family and all the people in it.
It didn’t matter to her if there was controversy or dissension (although it bothered her when it was happening), and it certainly didn’t chase her away. She was a member of the church for well over fifty years and rarely missed a service. People all called her “Grammy,” young and old alike. She brought a quiet, unassuming presence that provided some stability in tough times and reinforced God’s love during calmer times.
Her family reflected the solid upbringing they had under her mothering with open hospitality, welcoming all to their home, weekly Sunday dinner gatherings at her house, sticking together even when there were some tensions, and loving, respecting, and adoring their mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Our saints loved pastors – every one – and supported them whether she thought they were great pastors and preachers or not. This was HER church family, HER church home, and she found God here as well as friends who loved her as much as she loved them. She lived her faith without even knowing it.
Oh that we could have many more saints like this in our churches, those who witness their faith in their lives wherever they are; those who don’t even know that they are special beyond words; those who love with God’s love and receive that same love back; those who are the backbone of healthy churches and peacemakers in the midst of conflict.
This saint would not have even considered getting up to help lead worship, but she was a worker bee in the background, washing dishes when needed, preparing coffee for fellowship, baking her famous cookies, tending the bake table at the sale, donating toward fund raisers, pitching in to help wherever she was needed. More than that, even on her death bed she wanted to know how someone was doing – always putting others before herself.
Thanks be to God for the saints who keep us all on track and calm us down, pointing us to what is really the most important thing: Love of God in Christ Jesus. Amen.