For All the Saints
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love towards all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. (Eph. 1:15-16)
Happy All Saints Day!
Did you know today was a special holiday? Probably not. No one gets the day off. We don’t send “All Saints Day” cards – I can’t believe Hallmark hasn’t capitalized on that yet! And the commercial world is already focused on Christmas – only 54 more shopping days! Who has time to remember the saints?
Perhaps we should make time. After all, it was the saints of old who built up the church, taught us the stories of the Bible, and passed on the faith through the generations. It was the saints of old, many risking their lives, who fought for civil rights, equal rights for women, and the full acceptance of the queer community. And it was the saints of old who taught us right from wrong, the Golden Rule, and the power of love.
Who are these saints I speak of? Well, there are the ones recognized – canonized – by the church. People like St. Teresa of Avila, St. Francis, St. Oscar Romero, people who wrote beautifully of their faith, spurred the church forward, and fought for the poor and marginalized. Today is a good day to learn more about these saints and what they mean to our world today.
But in the Protestant tradition, saints are not just those canonized by the church. Like in the New Testament, “saints” refers to all Christian believers. So today is a good day to remember parents and grandparents, pastors and S.S. teachers, inspiring neighbors and just regular folks who instilled in us a love for God and neighbor. Today is a good day to remember and give thanks for their gift to us.
My hope is that all this remembering and giving thanks will help draw us back to our own faith. It seems we have forgotten, or have become disillusioned, or are simply too busy with other things (mostly sports) to focus on our love of God and neighbor. We worship other things, seek other things, love other things, and the world suffers for it.
So yes, happy All Saints Day! May this day draw us deeper into beloved community with God and neighbor as we seek to live the lives of saints. As the old hymn by Lesbia Scott says, “God help me to be one, too.” *
*I Sing a Song of the Saints of God, Lesbia Scott, 1929