Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. (Romans 12:13 NRSV)

I remember reading about a Chicago newspaper columnist Bob Greene who wrote about a ten-year-old girl named Sarah whose grandfather had died. Sarah's mother said, "He hadn't been feeling well for sometime. He went to the hospital for some tests. Just to find out what was wrong." He died two weeks later. Sarah was not able to go to the hospital to see her grandfather before he died. She never got the chance to say good-bye. We could tell that she was upset because she didn't see him in those days before he died."

Sarah didn't say much about what she was feeling. One October day she came home from a friend's birthday party with a helium balloon. "She went into the house," her mother said, "when she came back out, she was carrying the balloon--and an envelope."

Inside the envelope was a letter she had written to her grandfather. The envelope was addressed to "Grandpa Bernie, in Heaven Up High." In the letter, Sarah wrote: "Hi, Grandpa. How are you? What's it like up there?" The letter ended with Sarah telling her grandfather that she loved him, and that she hoped somehow he could hear what she was telling him.

In mid-December a letter arrived, addressed to "Sarah and Family." The letter bore a York, Pennsylvania, postmark and had been mailed by a man named Donald Kopp.

The letter began: "Dear Sarah, Family and Friends--Your letter to Grandpa Bernie Meyers apparently reached its destination and was read by him. I understand they can't keep material things up there, so it drifted back to earth. They just keep thoughts, memories, love and things like that."

Donald Kopp is a sixty-three-year-old retired receiving clerk who just happens to be a grandfather too.

May we today honor our loved ones and saints who have gone before us.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the people you have sent my way who have helped me be the person of faith that I am today. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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