The season of the year is turning, the weather is colder and autumn is well advanced and now so is the church’s year, the liturgical year, which is drawing to a close. November is a month for remembering. It begins with All Saints (1 November), followed by All Souls (2 November) and Remembrance Day, (11 November), although the second Sunday of the month is when many Remembrance services take place. As the month progresses the theme of redemption comes to the fore culminating in Christ the King, a feast ending the liturgical year.
What does All Saints mean to us here and now? No-one proclaiming to be a Christian can be solitary because through Baptism we are all members of one another in Christ Jesus. Our baptism is the beginning of our Christian pilgrimage through life which leads us to death and as Charles Wesley stated in the hymn ‘Let saints on earth in concert sing’ (Common Praise 222: tune: Dundee).
‘One family, we dwell in him,
One Church, above, beneath;
Though now divided by the stream,
The narrow stream of death.’ (Charles Wesley:1707-1788)
These words were originally written in 1759 in a collection of Funeral Hymns by Wesley with the first verse commencing: ‘Come let us join our friends above’.
They are a reflection on the Christian being a member of the company of saints whose mutual belonging transcends death. Thus All Saints day celebrates people ‘in whose lives the Church as a whole has seen the grace of God powerfully at work’ (Times and Seasons 2006:p.537).
All Saints Day is a wonderful opportunity to think beyond our immediate lives and concerns since through the saints people are connected to those of every generation and age and are being given the power to reshape our identity and learn who we are and what we are about.
The reading from Revelation tells of the future and what we may expect in the great company of heaven. It paints a vivid picture of a huge number of people, too great too count, from all tribes, nations and languages standing before the throne of the Lamb, praising him loudly with great shouts of acclamation, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated upon the throne, and to the Lamb.’ (Revelation 7:10).
As we worship with all the saints in heaven pray for God’s blessing on us forever. AMEN