Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saint or Saint Triumphant

November 1st is All Saints Day.  Today in church we celebrated Saints Triumphant Day.  Both remind us of those who have gone home to Heaven before us.  On November 1st my focus was on my mom because her Heaven day is three days later.  Today I thought about all those who have gone before me.  Some of them have been recent like my friend Tammy who fought ovarian cancer like me and my Great-Aunt Gert who along with her husband, Ray, were instrumental in keeping me on the path to serving God by teaching in Lutheran schools.  I also remembered all my grandparents who brought up my parents in the way of the Lord so I, too, could be brought up in the way of the Lord.  And finally I remembered our little Jessica who died before she even entered the world.  It's a bittersweet day missing those whom we have loved so dearly yet rejoicing that they are in Heaven and I, too, will join them someday.

While we here on earth might not be Saints Triumphant yet, we still are Saints.  We are Saints not because of anything that we have done or anything we will do, but because of everything that Jesus has done.  

And because of that amazing grace God looks at us as Saints.  He looks at us through cross-covered glasses.  He looks at us with glasses that are stained with the blood of Jesus.  He can only look at us as Saints, even though we have failed perfection miserably, because of the perfect life, death and resurrection of our Savior.  What an amazing gift to be called a Saint of our God's!

So now that I am completing another Saints Triumphant Sunday here on earth, I wonder if it will be my last.  I wonder if the things I'm struggling through right now -- my obstruction, my medication, my illness -- are God's way of telling me that my time on earth is almost done.  And you know what?  That's bittersweet.

Why would it be bittersweet thinking that my earthly struggles might be done soon?  It's because of those I would leave behind -- my friends, my extended family, my husband, and mostly my children.  When we look at our lives when we start a family, we don't expect to leave them before we see our grandchildren. 
We don't expect to leave them before they are married.  We don't expect to leave them before they graduate high school.  And we really don't expect to leave them before they are confirmed.  And yes, we all know that we could die at any time.  But I bet most of us don't live like we could die at any time.  

It's also bittersweet because honestly, I'm not looking forward to those final hours.  If my death does come from cancer, there is no guarantee that it will be quick.  More than likely it will be painful, and who really likes to think about pain and death.  I know I don't.  God didn't create us to die. 

But the sweet part comes, and that part will last for eternity.  When we die we will be a Triumphant Saint in a place that will have no more sorrow or tears.  We will bask in the glow of our Father and our Savior.  We will see people that we have longed to see again, and we will meet people that we have only heard or read about.  All our fears will be gone and all we will know is God's perfect will.  Amazing Grace!  How sweet the sound!

In our sermon today our pastor ended with reading the last three verses of the hymn "I Walk in Danger All the Way".  I'm putting them below and I would like you to read them as a poem.  If you know the Lutheran tune, resist the temptation to sing it because you will hear these words in a completely different way. (Emphasis mine)

I walk with angels all the way;
They shield me and befriend me.
All Satan's power is held at bay
When heavenly hosts attend me.
They are my sure defense;
All fear and sorrow, hence!
Unharmed by foes, do what they may,
I walk with angels all the way.

I walk with Jesus all the way;
His guidance never fails me.
He takes my every fear away
When Satan's power assails me,
And, by his footsteps led,
My path I safely tread.
In spite of ills that threaten may,
I walk with Jesus all the way. 

My walk is heavenward all the way; 
Await, my soul, the morrow,
When you farewell can gladly say
To all your sin and sorrow.
All worldly pomp, begone!
To heaven I now press on,
For all the world I would not stay;
My walk is heavenward all the way. 

Today I am a Saint.  Soon I may be part of the Saints Triumphant.  Either way I will win because of Jesus. And I can confidently say that I Will Rise.


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  2. Thank you, dear Lisa, for your words, for Hans Brorson's words, for God's words. Your blog certainly has achieved the purpose for which you set out to write it. I will keep on crying out to God for his loving kindness to you in the hours you fear. May His promises comfort you and His peace sustain you. Love in Him, dear fellow Saint. L Patterson

  3. Lisa not sure if you remember me I used to go to Bethany in port orchard. I loved your blog, it was very uplifting. I will add you to my prayers. In Christian love Kelly Kammer

    1. Kelly, Yes I remember you. Thank you for the nice comments you made. Thank you even more for the prayers.

  4. I was acquainted with John Ritierodt, which dates me. I walked the cancer path first with a little sister when she was 11 and I was 15. recently I walked that path with a best friend, Grace. Six weeks later my own husband went to heaven. Christians witness loudly and clearly in blogs like yours. Their celebrations of life and Life are a wonderful testimony to Jesus and His gift of Life! May you know His peace and that He will be with you and your family always. Blessings ahead along the Way. Margaret [Pingel] Rodenbeck Rodriguez

  5. I was recently introduced to your blog by a mutual friend. I walk with stage 4 breast cancer that has recently metsed to the brain now. I now deal with another battle, a harder journey than I figured, but try hard to work with Gods plan. You blog is uplifting and I thank you. It will help lift my spirits in my walk as well. Thank you for putting this out there.

    1. Deana --
      What a walk you are going through right now. Working with God's plan is not always easy. And in fact He never promised that our road would be easy. Yet we can take so much comfort in knowing that since He is all-knowing He knows right where His plan is going and why it is better for us than anything we could think of or imagine. Take comfort not only in that, but also in knowing that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you in prayer. I will be praying for you in your walk. May God's plan become clear to you and may He give you the peace that only he can give.