Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith… Hebrews 12:1-2

     Lord Jesus, it’s the day after Halloween and on the ancient church calendar, this is the day many refer to as “All Saints Day”—a time for remembering extraordinary brothers and sisters in Christ—those who have gone on before us into heaven, leaving us examples of sacrificial piety and commendable spirituality.

     I used to think of this “cloud of witnesses” as a small select group of spiritual giants, peering down from heaven onto the earthly playing field of Christianity… cheering us on in the “righteousness race”—pulling for us to make it across the finish line. Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David, the Apostle Paul… all winners, now motivating us to do well, persevere, and finish strong. (Have mercy!)

     Jesus, all that led to was pride in my performance or despairing of my failures, depending on the day. I got the “treat” if I performed well. I got the “trick” if I performed poorly. I now realize there’s no more ghoulish or ghastly costume to wear than my own efforts to appease and please you. The one thing Noah, Abraham, Moses, David and Paul ALL had in common was their abject brokenness and consuming need of your grace… which you freely gave them by faith.

     So today, Jesus, I purpose, yet again, to fix my gaze on you, the author and finisher of my faith. I’m only a saint because the Father has hidden my life in yours. My only “dress” is your righteousness, plus nothing. I will run and finish the race, because in you, Jesus, I live, move and have my being. I’ll make it to heaven, not because of my efforts, but because of yours. I’ll not bother myself with a “trick-or-treat spirituality,” because everything that is yours is now mine. You are my righteousness, my holiness and my redemption. What wondrous love and eternal inheritance is this, indeed!

     With great joy, I want to remember the gospel heroes you’ve given me—the men and women who have turned away from unrighteousness and self-righteousness to Christ-righteousness—those dear saints who make me want to seek first your kingdom and your righteousness. So very Amen, I pray, in your generous and glorious name.