Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
ALL SAINTS DAY
Hebrews 13: 7-17
"Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their ways of life and imitate their faith."
This closing chapter of Hebrews contains exhortations. Here the principles of Christian living are emphasized. All Saints' Day is the time when we honor and remember all Christian saints, known and unknown. The epistles emphasize the fact that all believers are saints. John Wesley said that the Feast of All Saints was his favorite festival in the Church. It was one time more than any other, when the life and sacrifice of the great chain of witnesses from the earliest worshippers of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was emphasized and brought into the present through remembrance. In our communion service we sing, "Now as we come to your table we recall those gone before us. Grant their lives be an example. May we use their teaching as our guide." While everybody speaks during his/her time, some speak beyond it. People come and go. We are empowered by them while they are here and after they are gone.
Remember. The first exhortation in this portion is to remember. One of the paradoxes in life is that we often forget what we ought to remember and we remember what we ought to forget and forgive. We are asked to remember the outcome of the life of the saints. In this era of prosperity gospel, terms like suffering, sacrifice, pain, loss have no place in the vocabulary. But in real Christian life there are pain, problems and crises.
Imitate. Remembrance should lead to action. Jesus Christ is our supreme model. Christ and His cross are at the center of Christianity. He is the same always and that fact is emphasized at the beginning (1:12) and at the end (13:9) of this epistle. We have to imitate Christ and the saints (teachers) in our faith and also in our giving.
Be on the Watch. There were tensions between leaders and the people over the questions of food, rituals, clean and unclean, etc. So here is a warning against false doctrines and a reminder not to forget the people who were influential in their spiritual upbringing. Do not be carried away by the new trends in preaching and stick on to the faith of the fathers.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the lives of those who were instrumental in the formation and the growth of my Christian life. Help me to carry that torch and to be a model for the coming generation. Amen
Rev. Dr. Philip Varghese, Denver