EP: Psalms 148, 150; Wisdom 5:1-5,14-16; Revelation 21:1-4,22-22:5
Today is a "Principal Feast Day" in The Episcopal Church, one of the seven so identified. All Saints is also one of the four days on which our Book of Common Prayer recommends baptisms take place. So it is a big deal. And the good news is that it is also moveable, with the following Sunday being designated as a place for the commemoration to be observed.
Tomorrow is the day which commemorates "All the Faithful Departed", a day of observation that disappeared in the Reformation because of the abuses around money associated with saying Masses for the dead. I like the idea of lumping today's feast day together with all those forgotten and un-named believers that have gone before us: sustaining the faith through their quiet and deliberate efforts. Saints take all forms, shapes and sizes: they are not only the ones who died heroically and dramatically. Saints are also those people who come into our lives at just the right moment, say or do something that is seemingly small and inconsequential, but alter our lives in such a way that our trajectory is forever changed. We may not remember all these saints who have done this for us, but that does not make them any less saintly.
I cannot say it any better than the verses we are gifted from Hebrews today at the beginning of chapter 12:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
who for the sake of the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
disregarding its shame,
and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
We are never alone, although we may feel that way at times. Not only is God, and that majestic love, always surrounding us, but we have so great a cloud of witnesses accompanying us on our journey: through all those rough patches, as well as all the wonderful ones. So, on this All Saints Day, we should not only be on the look out for those saints who come into our lives, but remember that we can be that saint for someone else too.
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.