We are traveling down “memory lane” as we remember “All Saints”- those past, those present, and those following in our footsteps- this week. Dealing with memories of these “saints” is a huge personal challenge. Some people who have so impacted our lives take years of counseling as we try to “declutter” their impact on our lives. Others people who have impacted our lives, we keep photo albums that mean so much to us. We love those pictures that remind us who we are and where we come from. We have another method of honoring saints, though. That is in the “statues” or the things we keep that bring the person into present memory.
I look around my living room and I have hanging there a bronze wall hanging of a mailbox. It was a popular artsy thing to do in the 60s or 70s. My father was a postal inspector and I gave it to him to honor his years of service fighting fraud. It hung on their wall and was a favorite place to hide jellybeans on Easter. I have inherited the art piece and it reminds me of him but it also carries a story that formed me.
One college holiday I worked in the post office sorting mail and whined that it was sooooo boring. I received a proper lecture on the importance of mail. Mail connects people. Mail carries checks that keep people alive. Mail carries wedding, death and release from prison announcements. Mail is important!!! The written word is important. Our messages are important. The open mailbox hanging on the wall reminds me.
When I think of iconic statues that have carried messages to the world through the centuries, I think of Michelangelo’s statue, David. One of the favorite Bible stories that we teach our children is the story of David and Goliath, 1 Samuel 17. A youth comes from the fields where he watches his father’s sheep, to bring food to his brothers on the warfront, bullied by a giant, Goliath, seven feet tall. There we have an iconic setting, the seemingly impossible challenges facing us when we feel so totally overwhelmed. We know that feeling. As the story goes, David takes five stones from a brook and meets the giant with his sling. David famously confronts Goliath, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (17:45)”
The mailbox reminds me of the importance of the written word. The statue of David reminds me that “enemies” come against us threatening death but God helps us be “saints” that bring life, hope and courage to others. Look up from your reading now and gaze around your piece of reality. Is there some thing that reminds you of saints past, present and future who bless your life? Say a prayer of thanks. Or if there is need for a prayer of forgiveness, that works too. We are works in process being formed in cast off, imperfect pieces of marble. God is working with us. Thank goodness!