Caught Up In The Clouds

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died. For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died. For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17

Today is All Saints’ Day, and this Sunday we will remember the saints who have gone before us. As Methodists, we understand that the term “saints” applies to all believers, not just certain people who have performed signs and wonders or have been canonized.

Saints are all around us in our Church, our communities, our workplaces, even in the places we would least expect to find them. I think recognizing the sainthood of all people is beautiful: it forces us to see the Divine in anyone that we can encounter. For we are more than this bag of skin that we walk around in–there is a part of everyone that is eternal, that is fearfully and wonderfully made by a loving God.

Growing up I have had the privilege of being surrounded by so many wonderful saints. I can easily think of people like my mother, my great-grandmother, and others who had paved the way for my spiritual journey. These are people who have supported me, shown me love, challenged me, and molded me into the person that I have become today. And although some of these saints have passed away, part of what gives me some comfort is that their eternal parts carry on, not just as spirits who have gone to be with God, but in how they have changed me.

I like to think that my saints check-in on me every now and then, and I believe that they smile or snicker or may even shudder depending on the circumstance. But I feel their presence in my life, that one brief moment where I hear a phrase or see a photo or smell a specific scent that reminds me of those saints in my life, and I can’t help but smile and reflect on how much I love them. Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica reminds us that one day, we will all be caught up in the clouds together. But until then, we will pause, reflect, and remember.