All Saints Day is a significant day in the life of the church as we remember and celebrate that great cloud of witnesses that we call the communion of saints. It’s a day that we give thanks to God for the lives of all those who, in their earthly life, lived for the glory of God and worked for God’s kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven. And it’s a day that we recognize the common bond between the church here on earth and the church triumphant and eternal in God’s love.
One of my favorite preachers, Olu Brown, refers to that great cloud of witnesses as “fans in the stands.” I love this image!! The saints are the people who have run the earthly race that was set before them and who now reside in the stands of the eternal stadium (Hebrews 12:1-2). They are in that stadium cheering on each of us as we run our earthly races with Christ. Each time we remember them and each time we come to Christ’s table with them, we join together in that mystical, sweet communion. From generation to generation … from beginning to end … from Alpha to Omega … God is in all, through all, with all … we are joined together in the one body of Christ. Even though we mourn those who are no longer with us on earth, we rest in the eternal hope that we will meet again thanks to the gift God gave us in Christ.
This Sunday in worship, we will celebrate All Saints Day in several special ways. There will be a bell tree in the narthex where people can pin a bell in memory of their loved one. We’ll process the bell tree into the sanctuary when worship begins, and the gentle sound of the tinkling bells will represent the singing of the saints in glory. Please make plans to arrive a few minutes before worship if you would like to pin a bell in memory of someone. In addition, we will light a candle as we name those from our congregation who have died over the past year. We’ll also light a candle to remember loved ones who were not church members but who were nonetheless important. Finally, we will come to Christ’s table to share in holy communion with those present and those who have gone on before us.
All are welcome to join us for this meaningful time of worship and remembrance. I look forward to being with you all this Sunday!!