Crossroads: All Saints’ Day

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John 11:32-44

Your Story

Tell your family about someone who has influenced you, but who has also died. It can be someone from your family who influenced your faith or identity, or someone from church who was a big influence. Talk about their lives and how they helped you.

My Story and the Bible Story

Thursday marked six months since my granddad died. During the days leading up to it, I found myself remembering a lot of things about him: the way he smiled, how he smelled, and all of the memories of the things we did together. Granddaddy was a huge part of my life and a big influence on who I am today. I am a reader because of him. Space fascinates me because of him. I approach life as a gift because of him. He has always been a big part of my life, and those shoes will never quite be filled again. For me it is fitting that Sunday, November 1st, was All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is a time of remembering those who have been part of our Christian journey but are no longer with us. It’s a day to remember the people throughout the history of the church who came before us, who navigated the Christian journey and gave us roots. It’s also a time when we remember people in our own lives who have been important to us and have died. We remember all that they did and all that they gave to us.

Sometimes remembering is hard because it makes us sad. We are sad that we can’t give that person one more hug or tell them that we love them one more time. We’re sad because we no longer get to see them. But Jesus gives us hope. In the book of John we find the story of Lazarus. Jesus was no stranger to the pain of losing someone He loved.

Read John 11:32-44. From the NIV: ”When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?” Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.””

When Jesus heard that Lazarus had died, he wept. Jesus knows the grief we feel when someone we love dies. But then something amazing happened; Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead! That doesn’t mean that the people we have lost will be raised from the dead right now. But it does mean that we have hope, because like Jesus saw Lazarus again, we will see them again, too. We have hope that someday we will be with God. And those we love will be there too. When we lose someone who is a Christian, it’s not forever. We will see them again. So as Paul says, we grieve but we grieve as people who have hope, for they are with God and when we are with God one day, we will see them again. As we remember those we have lost on All Saints’ Day, remember too the hope we have that we will see them again.

Action and Discussion

• Light a candle in memory of the people your family loves who are no longer on this earth.
• Share happy memories of loved ones who have died.
• Talk to your kids about what it means to grieve with hope.

Prayer

Thank God for all of the people He’s put in your life and in the lives of your family members. Thank Him especially for the good times you had with loved ones who are no longer here. Ask Him for help in remembering those good times when you are sad.

Jessica Asbell is currently serving as the Minister to Children at First Baptist Church of Roswell, GA. She has worked with children in various capacities at several churches, including Winter Park Baptist in Wilmington, NC, First Baptist of Decatur, GA, and Highland Hills Baptist in Macon, GA. She has a Master of Divinity from McAfee School of Theology and a BBA from Mercer University. In her spare time she loves to read, watch movies, and of course spend time with her sweet kitty, Lucy.

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