ELW 422 For All the Saints, verse 3
“Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine, we feebly struggle, they in glory shine; yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia! Alleluia!”
As we celebrate All Saints Day this Sunday, we will sing the glorious hymn “For All the Saints.” Along with the candle lighting for those who have gone before us, singing this hymn is a treasured part of All Saints worship. It is soaring, joyous, comforting, and somehow also speaks to the everyday lives of faith of those that we have loved.
The saints, as hymn writer Bishop William W. How knew, come in all shapes and sizes. Saints include those whose acts of faith were celebrated and those whose quiet faith was never noticed. As I read a bit about Bishop How, I learned that he was known as the “poor man’s bishop” and the “children’s bishop” because of his work among the poor in the slums of London in the 1860’s. He treated and viewed all people, from little ones to those who were cast to the margins of society, as treasured children of God. I think this is reflected in his famous hymn. “All the Saints,” friends, includes us all.
As we prepare our hearts for worship this week I invite you to think about the saints in your life. Who has shown you the face, love, and grace of God? Who has lived a life of faith that has influenced how you serve others? Who has shown you what forgiveness looks like, or service, or discipleship? The saints in your life no doubt come in all shapes and sizes, and for all of them, we give thanks to God.
In Peace, Pastor Ruth
Let us pray. Creator God, it is you who have made us, and not we ourselves. We are dust without your breath of life. We are creatures, not creator; yet you entrust the care of creation to us. Breathe your spirit into us that we might be faithful in the tasks you set before us; through Jesus, the Christ who always goes before us. Amen.