The children many of whom will have taken part in the none religious event the previous evening as they do with the Santa Claus parade or as in our community the bike parade that starts the Fall fair, want to talk about the evening, they bring some of their candy and their focus is not Christian nurture and education!
We were the leaders of our Boys and Girls Club year previous when this same set of circumstances presented. We knew we had an opportunity before us to make a difference only how were we to proceed?
The path was made clear when we looked at the lectionary for that Sunday and like today it was All Saints.
Isaiah 25:7 On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; 8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
We are all Saints none of us will sleep in death forever. We will raise again together in the new heaven.
Here was our answer. We called the parents and asked them to talk to their children about a Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle Aunt, family friend who had past away and who had a strong Christian influence on their family.
We called the Boys and Girls Club together and discussed that instead of a children’s story they would each carry from the back of the church to the front of the church a framed photograph of a family Saint, the person their parents spoke to them about.
Sunday morning arrived, (I have tears as I write this) not only had the children arrived with a photograph other members of the congregation, who by word of mouth heard about this event carried in photographs. The front of the church was covered with black and white photographs.
Today those young children now have children of their own and without fail one of them will speak to us as say do you remember the year …
We will one day all be a photograph walked to the front of the church a remembered saint of the family. Know that you are loved by God as you are not because you are perfect and that Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth
Lectionary readings Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 24, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44