For All the Saints

We will confess this morning in worship the unity of the body, and by doing so we are confessing our union with those gone before us. In Christ, we are connected to a new creation.

We have read many times the list of biblical martyrs in Hebrews 11. At the end, they are commended for their faith. We do not worship past saints, we do not kneel before past saints, but we do honor past saints. And we do so enthusiastically. Why? Because from their hands was the faith once delivered to us. We are heirs of the promises of the Gospel given to us by the hands of the saints gone before us.

No institution can succeed—whether the Church or the family—without models and heroes. In fact, the liturgical year is about “the cloud of witnesses who have lived the life before us.”[1] These witnesses shape our ecclesiology.

So how is history forcing you to re-consider the saints gone before us? Who are your models, your children’s models? What is shaping our church’s definition of a saint? This is a question we must all ask. When you consider a hero, what characteristics are you using to make such a determination? Is it faith, hope, love, loyalty? What is it?

For the biblical writers, we cannot know God properly without knowing the saints He has used to shape the world.

All Saints’ Day is a day to remember those who from their labors rest by faith before the world confessed the name of Jesus, who is forever blessed. Alleluiah! Alleluiah!

Prayer: O Most Holy God, you have formed a Blessed Communion, a fellowship divine! We are grateful for uniting us under the Lordship of your Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Strengthen us in that unity and cause us to love one another with the love you have given to us so freely and abundantly. Do this for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

[1] Models and Heroes, Joan Chittister.

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