by Tom Eggebrecht
Doris. Ted. Dorothea. Roland. I remember these names daily as I type them into my computer in various combinations as passwords on a variety of web sites. It’s simply one way for me to keep their memory alive. Doris, Ted, Dorothea and Roland are the names of my four grandparents. I loved them all dearly.
Doris was a seamstress and worked very hard. She gathered us around her table for Sunday dinners that showcased her skill as a cook. Ted was a salesman. He taught me how to keep up on current events and imparted the finer points of good etiquette at the dinner table. Dorothea held a variety of jobs, including one as a grocery store cashier. She lived with joie de vivre and baked the best homemade rye bread you’d ever want to eat. Over the years Roland operated a coal truck business, ran a liquor store and was a school custodian. He was the definition of a “gentle man.”
Both of my grandfathers died far too young. My grandmothers lived nice long lives. Each of them loved me with an unconditional love that showed itself in gifts, advice and far-too-kind words. All of my grandparents were sacrificial in the gifts they gave to me.
But now that I myself am a grandparent, what I love even more about them is their faithfulness to Jesus. Each of them set a godly example for me. They were faithful church members. They prayed and did their devotions. They showed and shared their love of the Lord. These four sainted people are saints not because of what they did or how they loved. They are saints because of Whose they are by virtue of the water and the Word of Holy Baptism.
Their faith was passed down to my parents. My parents passed that same faith down to me. I, too, was baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus by water and the Word. I am forever grateful.
Crosby. Colbie. Ezra. I remember these names daily as I type them into my computer in various combinations as passwords on a variety of websites. I don’t really need to be reminded to remember them. They are in my thoughts countless times throughout the course of each day. Crosby, Colbie and Ezra are the names of our three grandchildren. I love them all dearly with a love that would that would have me sacrifice my own life for theirs.
I don’t know what occupations they will take on when they grow up. I don’t know who they will marry or where they will live. But I do know Who inhabits each of them. Crosby, Colbie and Ezra were all made saints by the Lord Jesus himself as I held them in my arms and baptized each one. Water splashed on their heads and God’s own words bounced off their eardrums. They are saints by the declaration of God’s certain promise. Their sins are forgiven, and they possess the gift of eternal life.
You see, on All Saints’ Day we not only celebrate the eternal lives of Doris, Ted, Dorothea and Roland. We also celebrate the gift of God’s love and forgiveness for Crosby, Colbie and Ezra. As much as I love each one of these human beings, God loves them with a love that sacrificed His only Son. He loves them with a love that is undying and never-ending. God loves His saints and makes them His own.
This All Saints’ Day I will celebrate the gift given to Doris, Ted, Dorothea, Roland, Crosby, Colbie and Ezra. And I’m going to celebrate the undeserved gift given to me. Out of His unconditional love, grace and mercy, God makes saints of every generation.
Tom Eggebrecht is Lutheran Church Extension Fund vice president of Ministry Support. He and his wife, Tammy, live in Winter Springs, Florida. Follow Tom’s personal blog at www.tomeggebrecht.com.