Sermon: Boasting of the Saints

October 30, 2022

2 Thessalonians 1:1-4, 11-12
Luke 19:1-10

by Eric Anderson

Over the last thirty years of ministry, I have heard many people approaching death say something like, “I don’t want tears and sadness at my funeral,” which is admirable. I appreciate that consideration for others’ feelings. But if you don’t want people weeping at your funeral, the only solution is to make sure they’re glad you’re dead when you go.

Our memorial gatherings have been our accustomed time to boast of the saints in our lives.

Over the last three years, we have been sad many times because of the passing of people who loved us and who we loved. In a pandemic, we have had to restrict our memorial gatherings. Fewer people have been present to share the tears; fewer people have gathered to share the stories. Our live streams of All Saints services had technical errors both in 2020 and in 2021 to our heartbreak. So before we being lighting candles today I’m going to share some words sent by friends and family members about their loved ones.

Diana Jones writes, “The Jones, Statzer, and Bradley families lost four members over the last eleven months. My husband of 65 years, Eric Jones, on November 13, 2021. Our grandson, Dustin Statzer, on May 13, 2022. Our nephew, David Bradley, on August 4, 2022. Our niece, Laurine Bradley, on October 16, 2022. Our Christian faith lets us rejoice that they are now pain free and at peace. We feel so blessed that they were in our lives and know we will be together in Heaven someday.”

From Kathy and Kevin Kawasaki:A loving mom and devoted wife that was born in Pepeekeo in 1934, Yasue Kawasaki was the youngest of 8 children born to 1st generation immigrants to Hawaii.  When she passed from this world on February 15, 2021, Yasue was able to join Toshiaki, her husband of over 50 years who passed away nine years prior. 

“She was the first girl in her family to graduate from college.  When she returned to Hilo from UH Manoa, she began working for the State Employment Agency, focusing on helping veterans get jobs.  Yasue enjoyed traveling and fondly recalled her experiences living on Long Island, New York during her husband’s teacher’s exchange program.  Even working a full-time job, Yasue always ensured that her family had a good dinner every night and sat down as a family to eat and talk about the day.  She always did her best for the family to ensure that her children Kevin and Kathy were supported and given the opportunities to be successful.  In her golden years, Yasue was able to step back and enjoy her 4 grandchildren and be a special part of their lives.

“Yasue was a very thoughtful person, always thinking of others and will be dearly missed.”

From Kathie Rogers: “We are all finding ways to keep memories of Kay Kawachika alive in our hearts. Her daughter’s most celebratory memory was planning a surprise visit on her mom’s 80th birthday. Kay thought she was picking her sister Jere up at the airport. Lo and behold, Kathie was waiting at the curb with her suitcase.  She’ll always keep the astonished look on her mom’s face as she got out of the car close to her heart.

“Jon says he and his mom were very much alike, as his own boys can attest to as they’ve grown older. Kay and Jon loved each other, but…. BOY, they would argue and butt heads! Helping his mom with physical therapy following her neck injury and surgery was a monumental task. After each session they would be at their wits’ end, but Kay knew it was for the better. On a daily basis Jon applies culinary tips and life lessons learned from his mom.  

“Cindy’s fondest memory of her mother-in-law is when Kay would mail her scraps of notes in packages. She LOVED sending Cindy bags she or her friends made and would write this special note: “I promise this is the last bag”- signed “The bag lady”. THEN…… Kay would send her another bag. Cindy carries them often and smiles.  

“Gramschika was Kai’s strongest connection to his Japanese and island roots. While the Miami gang was spending Christmas in Hilo, the Sumada and Ura families invited them to pound mochi for the New Year.  Kai recounts Gramschika explaining the many New Year’s foods and traditions. He will cherish seeing his grandma celebrate, drink sake and socialize with her friends and ohana.  

“Living in California, Sean often got to see his grandma and grandpa. After picking them up at the airport and bringing their bags into the house, he looked forward to “the box” of food Grandma would unpack even if it was really late at night. Like vultures, his family sat at the kitchen table and watched Kay unwrap the Hilo Tribune newspaper that kept some of the food cold.  As she unpacked they’d snack on all the ono cookies and Hawaiian treats and get caught up on everything that was going on. Kelli, Sean’s wife, remembers when Kay visited, she was never hungry because of the local food Kay brought and the delicious food she prepared.  

“It was a bittersweet memory for Spencer when he received a box from Gramschika shortly after her passing.  One of the last things Kay must have done was bake cookies and go to the post office to send it off. He spent last year living in his grandma’s house and would bake the SAME cookies to pass out to her friends and neighbors.  It shows that her love is still alive. From her wonderful gifts to her wise teachings, she is forever a part of who Spencer is and who he strives to become.  

“The entire family will always miss, remember, and love Kay.”

From Moira Tanaka: “Mike Inouye was a caring and friendly and upbeat person. He was co-owner of Restaurant Kenichi and had many friends. Mike’s family were members of Church of the Holy Cross.”

“Patricia Saigo was a retired proctologist and lived in New York for many years. She funded a series of presentations at the Lyman Museum. Her family were members of Church of the Holy Cross.”

From Lorraine Davis: “My brother-in-law Ed opened his heart and his home to my sister and her two children. I watched them thrive in an atmosphere of unshakable love, laughter, and a soft place to fall. I will most remember him for his sense of humor, his huge heart, and his commitment to take care of those he loved. I am grateful that he welcomed our entire family into his heart and we were able to be a part of his family for 15 short years. God blessed us richly.”

From Nina Buchanan: “Dr. Robert Alan Fox (AKA Bob) was an esteemed contributing member of the Hilo community, Hawaii, the nation and internationally. There were few dull moments when Bob entered a room bringing his intellect, articulate repartee and keen sense of humor. He is missed by his wife, family, colleagues and the school choice research community. Even though he left us all too soon, his spirit lives in our hearts and minds.”

From Chris Tamm:

“For Barbara Tamm:
A wonderful wife
A wonderful mother
A wonderful friend
Gone way too early!”

From Joyce Nakamoto: “Edgar Masaaki Torigoe was born on August 18, 1934 in Osaka, Japan.  Edgar grew up in Ola’a and graduated from Hilo High School before attending Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.  

“After graduation, he returned to HIlo and served as the manager at Bank of Hawaii downtown.  Edgar married Margaret Aiko Okuna in 1963 and they had two children, Joyce and Troy.   After a few years, Edgar moved to begin his long career as the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.  In retirement, Edgar enjoyed golf and supporting his grandchildren – watching many soccer, baseball, wrestling and judo tournaments and attending school events.  Edgar celebrated Thanksgiving with the family last year and passed away peacefully in his sleep.  He was 87 years old.”

Shortly we will begin reading the names, ringing the bell, and lighting the candles. We have included names this year that go throughout the pandemic and, indeed, before it. But before we do so, I want you to notice something about the tributes I just read.

These people accomplished different things during their lives. Some of those achievements made it into the memories shared. But all of these memorials include a common boast of the saint: They loved us.

They loved us.

My friends, I encourage you to live such that people know you love and care for them. Yes, that means that they will weep when you go from this world to the next. I know you don’t want anyone to feel sad.

But every last one of us will accept the sadness to know that you love us.


Watch the Recorded Sermon

This week Pastor Eric was reading a lot of other peoples’ words, and he sought to stay true to them.

The image is an Orthodox icon of All Saints. Photo by Neznani Slikar –, Public Domain,

Categories Sermons | Tags: , , | Posted on October 30, 2022

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