Let us now sing the praises of famous men and women,
our ancestors in their generations.
The Lord apportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
and made a name for themselves by their valor;
those who gave counsel because they were intelligent;
those who spoke in prophetic oracles;
those who led the people by their counsels
and by their knowledge of the people's lore;
they were wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes,
or put verses in writing;
rich men and women endowed with resources,
living peacefully in their homes--
all these were honored in their generations,
and were the pride of their times.
Some of them have left behind a name,
so that others declare their praise.
But of others there is no memory;
they have perished as though they had never existed;
they have become as though they had never been born,
they and their children after them.
But these also were godly men and women,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten;
Their offspring will continue forever,
and their glory will never be blotted out.
Their bodies are buried in peace,
but their name lives on generation after generation.
- Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10,13-14
In my home church, on All Saints Sunday, we used this reading every year. After each line describing the works of these famous people, the lector would pause, and various people from the congregation would stand and read names of saints and heroes who have impacted the world in those ways. And then, after the link "But hese also were godly men and women, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten", we would simply pause. And remember.
All Saints Day is the day to remember heroes of the faith, living and dead, ancient and recent, and to give thanks to God for their lives and ministry. I love this idea. I love singing the songs about meeting saints "in the lane or at tea" (Oy, how Anglican are we??).
So, today when thinking about heroes of faith, I'd like you to consider a particular group: parents. Specifically, parents with very sick children. Last week, I asked your prayers for a young girl, Caroline, having surgery. The surgery was sucessful, but it was indeed cancer. This very little girl has a very long road ahead of her, including radiation and chemo - yet, her mamas got dressed up and got her a costume so she could attend the Halloween Party at the hosptial. They are pushing through with strength and faith and prayer because Caroline needs them to, and because they love. And today, we will pray for them, and give thanks for their quiet testimony.