All Saints Day is set apart to celebrate the lives and legacies of Christian people who have passed away. In their new life they are part of the Communion of Saints – the fellowship of the church that transcends the boundary between heaven and earth. Every time we sing in worship of God on earth, and every time we participate in communion and baptism, our paths cross with the saints. The saints eternally worship God and feast at Christ’s heavenly banquet. They have achieved their baptismal calling of dying and rising with Christ. All Saints Day reminds us of this reality, and it is a sacred moment of honoring our saints’ continued impact on our lives.
Typically churches that follow the liturgical calendar celebrate All Saints Day on the first Sunday in November. If you followed Sermon Bites last week you know that I was out of town, so my churches let me move our celebration of All Saints to the second week.
We read from Ephesians 1:11-23 The church is Christ’s body, the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way. The Church is heaven and earth, and here on earth, we continue to learn from and benefit from the lives of the saints who’ve gone before us. They help us to grow in God’s grace.
Saints are everyday people. They are not perfect. They have not achieved a higher level of holiness than others. They simply have helped others to know God, receive God’s grace, and respond to God in discipleship. Your grandparents, parents, children, brothers and sisters, dear friends, Sunday school teachers, youth ministers, and pastors may have become saints to you. In this life they are people we call brothers and sisters in Christ, mothers and fathers of our faith, and when they’ve joined the heavenly church, we call them saints.
Every day can be a moment to appreciate God’s gift of the saints in our lives. Every day as we participate in the life of the church, we cross paths with our saints. God unites heaven and earth in the church. The kingdom of heaven is among you.
On Sunday we remembered founding mothers and fathers of our local churches and of our denomination – John and Charles Wesley and their mother Susanna. We remembered saints who left a lasting impact on church and society in the United States – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks. We remembered everyday, regular people, who have been gifts from God in our lives – friends, siblings, children, mothers, fathers, husbands, wives. We lit candles. We told their stories. We sang. We heard our voices join with their heavenly voices.
Today, celebrate one of your saints. Journal about them. Tell their story. Do something that you loved to do together. Say a prayer of thanksgiving for them.