In conversations leading up to Flippy Denton's recent funeral, someone was sharing with me some sweet and funny stories from Flippy's life. When the gentle laughter trailed off, and there was a holy moment, this person looked at me with tender eyes and said, "Flippy was a fine Christian woman." I could not imagine a better period that could placed at the end of a life's sentence. Thus followed more stories; these, tales of kindness, hospitality, and forgiveness — marks of a dedicated disciple of a dedicated Savior.
This Sunday we do double duty in worship.
First, we celebrate our Protestant version of All Saints Day. It is our time together to remember those who in the last year have left our earthy fellowship and now wait in the safe care of the risen Jesus until the resurrection; the "church triumphant," the ancient Christians called them. It is a day to give thanks for the witness of Flippy, Tom Goodwin, and all those many others who, despite their own shortcomings, have shown us what faithfulness looks like.
Second, it is Dedication Sunday: the culmination of three weeks of Stewardship emphasis. We will gather our Time and Talent cards, together with our financial pledges, and we will dedicate ourselves afresh to the ministry of Jesus in and around us. We've deliberately kept this season simple this year, looking ahead as we are to a fresh new season of being church.
In truth, the two duties go naturally together. How do we best learn the art and grace of the stewardship of God's gifts in our lives? Mostly by watching others do it well. From whom have you learned the shape of giving? Who has taught you the generous way of Jesus Christ? For that matter, who is watching you, learning the moves of discipleship from the gait of your walk?
Let us gather this Sunday, to remember God's saints and to dedicate ourselves to the same.