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Who are the influencers in your life?

Beloved in Christ:

"I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power." Ephesians 1:15-19

On Friday of this week we will mark another All Saints Day. You may have the opportunity to attend a worship service on the day or it may be apart of what is emphasized in the worship services of your local congregation this weekend. However it turns out I hope you will allow yourself some focused time to call to heart and mind the people who have significantly influenced your life in Christ Jesus. As unfortunate as it is we sometime let the term saint knock us off our game. We hear the term and assume that it is referring to someone who lived a long, long time ago. Perhaps we envision a person who made such a dramatic contribution to the Christian faith and the human family that their mark seems unattainable for us. The litany of ways and reasons why we blow by All Saints Day is long and exhausting.

As we come to this year's reminder of living well in Jesus Christ let's not lose sight of the all-ness of All Saints day. In Christ Jesus we have all been called to be saints not because we are perfect but precisely because we are not. We live into our call by never losing sight of our dependence upon the Triune God for our life and our capacity to let God's love come to fullness in us. Secondly I want to remind to thank God for all of the influencers in your life who by their example have helped you to see more clearly what it means to live a Christian life and bear witness to your faith in all that you say and do. Namely I know the stories of these people that I have never met and I am sure I am the better for it. But at the end of the day the real shapers of my life in Christ are the people I know and have known up close and personal. They are parents, spouse, my children, Sunday School teachers, colleagues, friends and mentors. Their names may never be widely known even among other Christians but in faithfully living their lives all in for Jesus they have touched and shaped me and countless others. For each and all I am grateful.

So take a few minutes even today to jot down the names of just a few folks living or living again whose life, labors, witness and example have made all the difference in you knowing, following, serving and loving Jesus Christ. Maybe one day someone will write your name down in a similar fashion. Maybe today is the day. Be encouraged Saints.

+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer