The Front Page

Welcome to the Front Page, the digital cover of the Wayne Press.  Here we will share with you things that can't be captured in our newsletter--videos, music, color photographs--as well as articles that reflect on faith and life.  

 

For All the Saints

 

O blest communion, fellowship divine!

We feebly struggle; they in glory shine;

Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.

Alleluia! Alleluia!  


I have no memory of observing All Saints’ Day while I was growing up.  

Perhaps my home church did not observe it when I was a child. All Saints’ Day is not the most “Presbyterian” of days, after all. Instead of pausing on the first Sunday in November to celebrate the faithful of every time and place, we tend to focus on the Sunday before. We pull out all the stops for Reformation Sunday, marking the anniversary of Martin Luther posting his 95 Theses with a rousing rendition of A Mighty Fortress is Our God

Perhaps I don’t remember observing All Saints’ Day because I had no connection to this ritual. As a young person I was relatively unaffected by death. Between the ages of five and twenty-two, I attended no funerals for family members or close friends. It’s not that I was skipping out; I did not experience any significant losses during that time. With no specific saints to remember, the day passed unnoticed.  

At any rate, the first time All Saints’ Day left an impression on me was during my first year of seminary. Granted, with my new course of study, I was unusually aware of liturgical seasons and special days in the life of the church. More importantly that was the first November after losing both of my paternal grandparents. For the first time I was remembering particular saints – people who had nurtured me in every possible way, including in my faith.  

The congregation with whom I worshiped that Sunday invited the community to light candles in memory of those who had lived and died in the faith. Gradually the room filled with light – each flame representing a loved one who had been received into the glorious company of the saints in light. It was a powerful reminder of the great cloud of witnesses that surrounds us as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).  

All Saints’ Day is now one of my favorite days in the life of the church. I am grateful for the opportunity to pause and give thanks for the faithful of every generation. And I am grateful for the opportunity to remember that these saints – though separated from us by space and time – are always one with us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Thanks be to God! 

Posted by Sudie Thompson at 1:25 PM
Share |