Standing in a cemetery last week reminded me once again of the Easter promise. This promise persistently encourages me whenever I think of the encouraging saints in my life. A great preacher of yesteryear provides a good picture of those faithful people, who are with us although we sometimes forget their presence.
Henry Sloane Coffin concludes a 1931 sermon with this picture:
There is a very beautiful lake in the Adirondacks about which the camps have been built so that they are almost completely concealed by the forest from anyone on the water. Unless some other canoe is in sight, one paddles along with a sense of solitude amid the mountains and the woods. But when night comes, the glow of the campfires touches one with the awareness of comradeship. The absorbing interests of our days usually claim our attention so fully that invisible presences remain unrealized. But when darkness falls, as it does in bewildering and confusing times, light gleams out for us and we become aware of the communion of the faithful in God (Henry Sloan Coffin, Christian Century Foundation, reprinted with permission from the January, 1932 issue of The Pulpit).
My prayer for our church is to ignore the critics. Anyone can tell you how to live life better. It takes a special and high-minded individual to be just, honest, and full of integrity when everyone else says, “Do it the easy way.” My prayer for this Easter, is for all of us to remember those who modeled the way of faith as recommended by Jesus when he said, “I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another” (John 15:17).