Who will you remember this All Saints Sunday?
Let me tell you about my 3x great grandmother, Martha Synde. She was born in 1784 in Valdres, Norway. She married, had seven chil-dren and was widowed by age 52. In 1850, at the age of 65, she and three daughters and their families left Norway for America, 27 people in all. It took them eleven weeks to sail from Norway to New York, and then another six weeks to reach their destination in Wisconsin. For almost 100 years after that, the descendants of Martha would gath-er in family reunions to remember this journey.
I wonder about these ancestors and the hardships they experienced seeking a new home. They were tough people. One of the things they brought with them was their faith in God. That faith gave them a lot of strength for their journey. Though they are all long gone, their faith endures and continues to strengthen people to this day.
Martha died in 1869 at the age of 84. As far as I know, sadly, there are no pictures of her that exist. A few years ago, I was walking through a cemetery near Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin, and I discovered her grave. The words carved in the stone are faded and hard to read. Standing there looking at her gravestone, the words of the prophet Isaiah came to mind. “The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Isaiah 40:8.
On this All Saints Sunday, November 6, we will remember in our worship those who have died in the past year. We will treasure their memory, and remember all who have gone before us. Our faith in God is what unites us together, saints in heaven and saints on earth. Though loved ones come and go in our lives, God’s word and promises to us endure forever. This is what we celebrate in worship each Sunday. Thanks be to God.