For all the saints who from their labors rest, we give you thanks, O God.
On November 1 churches throughout the world will celebrate All Saints Day. All Saints celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who are the body of Christ.
All Saints traditions vary from place to place but what is universal on this day is that we celebrate and remember lives, the lives of loved ones, friends and family, those we know and those we have never met, those whose baptism is complete, together in love.
From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consisted of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us. In Hebrews 12 the author encourages Christians to remember that a “great cloud of witnesses” surrounds us, encouraging us, cheering us on.
All Saints is a day to remember the grandmother who took us to church every Sunday. The pastor who prayed for us in the hospital. The neighbor who changed the oil in your car or made the tastiest BBQ. It is a day to give thanks for someone who told us Jesus loved us, the teacher who showered us with that love, the friends who bought us groceries when we were out of work, ill, or invited us to join them in service to a neighbor in need.
This year we have lost many of our saints at Reformation. As we celebrate that they now rest in God’s mercy, we grieve their absence in our community. We recognize how this time of being
physically apart from each other has made these losses feel harder as we have not been able to gather in thanksgiving for the gift of their lives. All Saints gives us an opportunity to do this as a community of faith.
This year we remember and give thanks for the life of:
Let us remember our Reformation saints. Let us also recall the saints of our lives. Let us celebrate the joyous times we had, the experiences that molded and shaped our faith journeys.
For God’s eternal embrace binds us together in love on earth and in heaven.
Together in love,
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long, Pastor Alina Gayeuski & Deacon Beth Barkhau