Some of them have left behind a name, so that others declare their praise. But of others there is no memory… But these also were godly men, whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten. Sirach/Ecclesiasticus 44:8-10
Dear Friends in Christ,
This Sunday we celebrate the All Saints Sunday, transferring the celebration from the feast day on November 1. This is “All Hallows’ Day” that gives “All Hallows’ Eve” or “Hallow’een” its name. We remember the saints of the church, those who bore witness to our Lord by their words and their life, often at great cost. We remember Biblical saints and the saints of the church throughout the centuries. They inspire us to courage as Christians, choosing faithfulness to God even when the going gets tough. And they show us by their lives the joy of a life in Christ that we can share.
The saints, as the New Testament uses the term, are all Christian people, not just those of exceptional virtue. We are saints not because we are perfect (we’re not), but because Jesus has sanctified us—made us saints, made us his people by his grace. Therefore, we also celebrate the lives of those whose names may only be known to a few, those friends and family members and mentors in the faith not listed on calendars. Each All Saints Sunday, we list the names of those who died in the past year, and we remember their blessings and their godly witness to us. This year, we will also remember those who died as children (even beyond just the past year) as we dedicate our Children’s Memorial in our Memorial Garden. I hope you can join us after the 10:30 service for this dedication.
In our civic life, this Tuesday is another election day. It is fitting that we remember the saints before an election. When we vote, we not only elect bureaucratic functionaries, we elect people who teach us something by their lives. Their witness impacts our communities and nation, for good or for ill. No candidate is perfect, but we are wise to consider character and virtue as we select leaders. Even down to primaries and small local elections, parties and their future leaders are shaped by those we lift up, and leaders shape us as a people. Whether in this election or in other elections, I encourage your faithful and prayerful discernment as you cast your ballot. May our civic life bring forth new saints for us to celebrate. And may God guide us all to follow him in all parts of our lives.
Yours in Christ,