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Psalm 116:7-9 – Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, O Lord, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living. (NIV)
The hymn, "For all the saints who from their labours rest", echoes through my head as I write this. Have you experienced the saints of old around you, before you, even following you — a heavenly host of those who loved you long since and are lost from your view for a while?
It was Saturday morning at our annual weekend retreat here on Vancouver Island. Sixty women were looking forward to this very special weekend. We were staying at a Christian camp by a very beautiful lake, but heavy rain had greeted us on arrival. Now we were anxiously watching the weather, hoping we would be able to get outside and stay reasonably dry through our meditative walk. This is a silent walk, as we thread our way around the campsite, stopping at ten stations for Scripture and prayer — together — but in total silence.
The rain had subsided, and as I led the group, they all came behind me in the same measured, thoughtful footsteps. The sound behind me crackled as we walked through the leaves of fall scattered everywhere. The pace was uniform as we approached the lake. Before us, stretched a beautiful scene we all love. In those moments of reflection on a given biblical passage, time seemed to stand still. Then as I slowly started forward again, the steps behind me started again too — the slow, measured, thoughtful steps of many in prayer.
It was during the last long trek through the grass towards the lake that I had a sense of being followed by many, indeed hundreds, of footsteps, and I thought of all the saints in whose steps we follow. The feeling of being joined by the saints who had nurtured us in the faith through our early years was strong within me.
Let's pause a moment and recall with gratitude the saints who have gone before us, around us and behind us. Let's give thanks for those who are walking now through this life with us as we all follow in Jesus' steps. May we vow to "walk before the Lord in the land of the living" and give thanks for all those faithful ones who showed us the way.
Prayer: Lord, we acknowledge with gratitude the example we have received from those who walked before us in this life and have now joined with the saints in heaven. May we, on this day, be faithful examples in our daily walk for those who follow us. Forgive us when we stumble and when our eyes are filled with tears, knowing we failed You and them. We hear Your Word, "Be at rest, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." In Your mercy, pick us up, dear Lord, and deliver our souls from death through the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
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