On Sunday we celebrate All Saints Day. This is a day whereby we honor all the saints throughout history, whether they are famous or less well-known. Other names for this day are All Hallows’ Day, or Hallowmas, and the essence of this celebration is that we are still connected with those who have left this life and gone to spend eternity with Christ.
This day is not only for celebrating the saints who you can call to mind easily, such as Peter or Paul, but anyone whom you know who chose to follow Jesus as their Lord and Savior. This means that if you have made that commitment, you too are a Saint.
“To the Church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:2, NRSV)
We need to be clear that Scripture does not tell us to pray to the saints, through the saints, or for the saints who have already departed this world and are now in heaven. However, we can and should remember those who have gone before us, especially those who have impacted our faith.
Thomas Cranmer, who we spent some time looking at last week, wrote in the Book of Common Prayer that this day stands for “the unity of Christians of all ages, countries, and races in Christ, and the perfection of that unity in heaven.”
I mentioned during our Reformation Day celebration that Cranmer was my favorite reformer – he is someone I look up to. The work he did. The commitment he had to God, and to the work God had called him to do. I find his story inspirational.
Maybe there is someone, famous or otherwise, that you look up to for their faith. Someone in whom you find inspiration. Consider the heroes whose stories are shared within scripture. Think about the leaders of faith throughout Christian history. Remember those from your personal journey, as well as missional and movemental leaders who have gone before us. We are thankful for saints of all kinds.
On Sunday we will be mentioning all the saints to which we have a personal connection that have gone to eternity in the past year. If there is someone you would like mentioned please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org.