All Saints Day: A Time to Remember and Be Re-Membered
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 before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for 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. (Hebrew 12:1-2)
About the time you receive this issue of The Current it will either be just before or just after All Saints Day, Sunday Nov. 1. I delight in this marker in the Christian calendar that bids me pause, reflect and give thanks for the lives and witness of all those water washed, cross marked pilgrims who have finished their course here on earth. I will not only be remembering the well known pioneers and perfecters of the faith but people that I have known in my own lifetime whose witness has shaped or inspired me.
All Saints Day is a specific opportunity to not only remember but to be re-membered to the whole Christian communion. We are bound to all Christians in every time and place. That is a humbling, awe inspiring and scary thought. It’s not hard to think about the best qualities and characteristics of other disciples that we admire. Those things tend to humble and awe us. The scary part is that we are also connected to fellow disciples with all of their warts and shortcomings. But the miracle and mystery is that God manages to use us warts and all. And the extraordinary good news is that God desires to perfect us in God’s love.
Reflecting on the faith and service of other Christians is a form of being mentored. Some people focus in so deeply over many years on one maybe two folks who have captured their imagination. They study a life so deeply that they find themselves tutored and shaped by that life in transforming ways. Just has we have seen the risen Christ at work in others in ways that we may want to emulate it is also true that our lives are mentoring others in the faith. This is the case whether we want it to be or not.
So this All Saints Day I pray:
Lord Jesus Christ,
you built your Church
on the rock of redeemed humanity;
through all the saints of every age,
you extended, reformed and diversified
the household of faith.
We who inherit their witness today
and reap what others have sown
bless you for our fathers and mothers in God.
may we so love and serve your Church
that those yet unborn
may benefit from our labor;
and when the grace of life on earth on earth is past,
may we enjoy, with them,
the company of heaven. Amen