All Saints Sunday is the first Sunday of November. This is the day when we recall the lives of those who have gone on before us and who have impacted our lives with their goodness and love. It is one of those great celebrations of The Church, and is one of the most important days of the Christian year.
Each year, as we approach this time, I think of those good people who have affected my life. I recall the death of a saintly woman in my first appointment: Mrs. Pinkie Parker. She had worked all her life in a local mill, and her hands were so gnarled with arthritis that she could hardly grasp anything. That did not deter her love for children, however, and she expressed it in a most sacrificial way.
Every infant who arrived in the Almon community would receive a gift from Mrs. Parker: a set of hand-crocheted booties. She labored endlessly to create one such pair of shoes because of her affliction, yet she was never deterred in making those wonderful gifts for little children.
I sometimes wonder how many households in that community hold a simple pair of handmade shoes for an infant? I'd be willing to say there are many packed away or displayed as gifts of sacrifice and love.
The gifts of the saints of The Church are often small like Mrs. Pinkie Parker's. Tiny gifts of words or deeds which touch untold lives with a touch of love which springs from the heart of God. They are gifts of great importance, for they remind us of lives so touched by God's love that they continue to reach out across years of time: long after the giver has died.
Every year at All Saints, I remember Pinkie Parker. I recall those tiny gifts of love and labor which were, to me and to many of that community, an expression of a greater love that filled the heart of a simple woman from Georgia.
Saints of The Church. They walk among us…simple people so seemingly insignificant on the scale of world events that it is easy to miss them. Their impact, however, is often life-changing, and their love leads people toward God by simple inspiration.