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Hayden, Down Under

I’ve been thinking. I know, I know, it’s a dangerous habit to have.

I’ve been thinking about something we say all the time: I believe…….. in the communion of saints.

This familiar phrase comes from the Apostles’ Creed.

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about the saints, both living and dead.

I'm grateful for a new friend I’ve met through Twitter: Hayden is from the land down under. He’s given me permission to write about our friendship here.

Hayden is a young Christian who lives in Australia. We’ve become pen pals, emailing back and forth several times a week. It has been wonderful to meet someone Hayden’s age (20); someone so committed and focused on the things of God. We typically share what we’ve been reading. Hayden is a big fan of the Puritans; as a result, he has deepened my knowledge about a part of the communion of saints I had previously known little of.

Today I’ve been thinking about Alice Steggall. Just before worship this morning, I received word that Alice has died. This was not unexpected. Alice had been in declining health the past few months after turning ninety-four in May.

Alice taught me a lot about living by faith. I still recall the time when she shared her story during Uplift Hour. It’s one thing to read about World War II in a book, or to watch a fictionalized movie; it was entirely different, though, to hear of the heartbreak and hardships that Alice endured during the conflict. I loved the story of how Alice helped her brother obtain a new suit for his confirmation day. In the still quite difficult years right after the war, Alice caught the eye of a British soldier who happened to work in a commissary. Alice's boyfriend, who later became her husband, requisitioned some butter, which was then sold on the open market. Problem solved; the proceeds went to purchase her brother's suit.

Over the past decade and a half, the people of Our Saviour’s have taught me many, many priceless lessons about living by faith. They’ve done so after losing their jobs and their homes. They’ve done so when diagnosed with cancer and other diseases. They’ve done so in the aftermath of losing a spouse or child.

Like I said, lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the communion of saints.

We are now six weeks into our summer Life with God Bible class. We’ve been learning from the saints of old: Abraham & Sarah, Job, Ruth & Naomi, David, Ecclesiastes, and this morning, Hosea & Gomer. Their faith still speaks to us today, even though they are long gone (Hebrews 11:4) This great cloud of witnesses points us to Christ, the beginning and the end of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-3).

I could go on and on, as pastors are want to do sometimes. And so, let me wrap this up. Many of you know of my love for history. In particular, I love to read biographies, my very favorite genre of all. Over the years, I’ve benefited greatly from reading about the lives of Adoniram Judson, Brother Lawrence, John Donne, Lilias Trotter, Cam Townsend, Dorothy Day, Sadhu Sundar Singh, and many more. They have taught me so much about life with God.

Today, I’m thankful for the communion of saints, both living and dead.

Photoholgic from Unsplash

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