“For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.Alleluia, Alleluia!”
(For All the Saints, UMH #711)
This is the first verse of the beautiful hymn sung every year on All Saints Sunday. It is a day that reminds us of those who have gone before us in the faith. It calls us to remember. It calls us to give thanks.
I always love this season. Not just the Fall season of leaves changing colors and falling or the pumpkins or even the cool temperature. This is a season of remembrance and giving thanks.
Every person of faith has people in their lives that made an impact and influence on their journeys of faith who have now passed into glory. Our walk with Christ is not one to be taken alone. Whether we realize it or not, the saints have made an impact on all of our lives. This is why every year we remember. We give thanks.
We recognize the saints in the church universal in this season. Today, Oct 31st, is also Reformation Sunday, the day Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg Cathedral igniting the Protestant Reformation. We remember him. We remember Rev. John Wesley, whose tradition I am a part of, and his call to reform the Anglican Church. We remember Saint Francis and his own call to change the church in the 12th century. We remember all the saints, those we interacted with directly and the ones who impacted our church universal.
In the United Methodist tradition that I’m a part of, we remember and give thanks for a multitude of saints. Every year we light candles and ring bells that call us to remember our loved ones, friends and mentors in the faith. We remember those who prayed with us, cried with us, encouraged us and worshiped beside us. Who does that bring to mind for you? Maybe a pastor, friend, family member or mentor? I invite you to remember them and give thanks.
This day is also a call for us to take up the mantle of faith and encourage others in their spiritual journeys. We remember the saints of old and the saints who impacted us. While we recognize the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12) who are cheering us on in this journey of faith, we are called to move forward, following their lives of service and witness.
Every year I look forward to hearing the words of the hymn that calls us to remember. The organ begins. The people enter into singing “For All the Saints“. Memories begin flooding our minds and our spirits. We are called to remember. We are called to give thanks.