They Live On

All Saints Sunday has given me another impetus to think about the people who shaped my life and values. In particular, I think of my grandparents, Jim and Alice Pearson. They were farmers in Albert City, Iowa, a small community of primarily Swedish immigrants. They raised corn, hogs, hay, and strong children who lived out their faith. We know the value of their lives by the fruit they have produced. Both my dad and my aunt Doris inherited their parents’ quiet faith and orientation to service and passed them on to their children. I am reminded of this every day as I sit at my desk where there is a cutting from my grandmother’s philodendron plant – the one plant I have kept alive for more than 40 years!

My grandfather, Jim, was a man of few words. He spent the last several years of his life after moving into town from the family farm working as the custodian of the church where they had been faithful members for their entire adult lives. The text of his funeral sermon was Psalm 84: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” He modeled this faith and commitment – something that clearly has been transmitted to his grandchildren. This is evident in the lives of my cousins who continue to farm near Albert City and who adopted 5 children in addition to their own three, and have shared God’s love freely with all of them, as well as with their 12 grandchildren.

Thank you God for not placing us in this world alone, but rather giving us models and mentors in the faith. Thank you for these saints who always preached the Gospel, the love of Christ, sometimes using words. Amen.

Dave Erickson-Pearson

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