Being a fan of learning new things, I’ve recently become captivated by the ancient Christian holiday season of All Saints – All Souls. Many of us have been taught to observe these days as a time to remember the “heroes” of our faith, the martyrs, those who sacrificed for Christ, and those who have been role models for us. It has often had an emphasis on the past and on those who have gone before us.
A new thing that I have learned is that this is a time to expand our understanding and consider not only the bounty that we have received from past “saints and souls,” but also to pause and reflect on what we will do that will benefit others in the future.
All Saints – All Souls connects us to the physical creation that God has given us. Through the years church has marked these days, which are at the mid-point between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice, as a time to give thanks for those who have blessed us as well as give thanks for the blessings that we enjoy now.
As we continue to experience fewer minutes and hours of daylight and move toward the longest nights of the year, this is an opportunity to face our spiritual night-times, our fears, our worries, our uncertainties. As we look forward to the coming of Christ our Incarnational Light at Christmas, may we find courage, companionship as we faithfully love and serve our God.
One reason why the lectionary scriptures appointed for All Saints Day are Jesus’ Beatitudes (Matthew 5.1-12) is to remind us that we are brought into community that is centered on Christ. Jesus teaches us that all of God’s people are blessed, particularly the poor, the mourning, and all those suffering, because they are not forgotten. They, too, are included and cared for within the Household of God; it is not just for the fortunate, wealthy, and well-connected. In the Kin-dom of God, we all are welcomed at the door, we all have a place at the table, we all receive the blessings that we need from God’s abundance.
Jesus calls us to join the Pilgrimage and be on the Journey of the Blessed where we trust that God will provide, and we walk daily in the way of faith and celebrate our community of welcome as we enjoy the blessings that do not hoard but share with one another. If the purpose of the church is to be the Beloved Community, let us embrace this calling, live in peace, and praise the God who makes it all possible.