Today is the Feast of All Saints on the liturgical calendar. My Wesleyan roots have taught me that Wesley especially loved this celebration. He writes in his Journal more on this feast day than he did for any other high, holy day. The communion of saints was an essential doctrine, and inspired him in his ministry. He wrote in his Journal on one such day:
“On this day in particular, I commonly find the truth of these words:
The Church triumphant in his love,
Their might joys we know;
They praise the Lamb in hymns above,
And we in hymns below.”
It was clear in his writings that he was conversant with the texts and prayers assigned for the day, and so, it is my practice to read the texts and the prayers that are designated in our day and time:
Collect for All Saints:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
It is also my practice to remember those folks who made faith real for me. The grandfather I never met, but whose example was recounted for me for me by parents and aunts and uncles. My grandmother who awoke early every morning to read the Bible by lamplight in her rocking chair. My parents who encouraged me in my walk of faith, even when it made them uncomfortable. My college chaplain who opened my eyes to a broader faith than I had ever experienced at the time. My friend who continues to serve his congregation in Montgomery and who opened me to the African American church. Countless folks who have shown me what it means to live the Christian life in the midst of life’s struggles. Yes, I am surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.
Who are your saints?