Luke 6:20 – 31
Remembering saints has been part of Christian tradition since the fourth century. All Saints Day celebrates all people of faith. It falls each year on the 1st of November and is a universal festival. The ancient church set aside the day to commemorate those who were martyred. Their reasoning was that because some names were never recorded, the memory of the martyred was in danger of being lost. Over time, this celebration was extended to remember all who have lived and died in the Christian faith.
In the Protestant Church, it is often celebrated on the first Sunday of November. We celebrate not only historic figures of the church, but all those baptized who we have known. Throughout history, there have been people who have pressed on, even in times of danger or discouragement. They are people who remember whose they are and live their lives as Christ’s disciples. They show God’s love, even to their enemies (Luke 6:27).
Saints are people set apart by God, who live their lives as a witness to the Gospel. The word saints often refers to Christians collectively, such as in our reading this week from Ephesians. We, in Christ, have “obtained and inheritance” (1:11). This letter offers hope. Its central theme is unity in God, through Christ. It is in Christ that we find out who we are. It is through Christ, that unity is found.
Our identity as Christ’s disciples has not changed from the first days of the Church. We are called to live differently. By remembering those of the past, we are inspired to live faithfully as Christ’s disciples in the present. The body of Christ, the church, of which Jesus Christ is the head, constitutes all the saints who have gone before us, as well as those faithful followers today.
No two saints are alike, just as no two people are alike. However, what saints share in common is that they have listened to and answered God’s call. This call can sometimes come at great cost. They are witnesses. They are people to emulate. Saints, in all generations, have lived by hope and faith in God’s promises.
All believers are called to live as saints, using Jesus’ teachings as a model. We are called to look ahead. We are called to hope. We are called to live in the presence of God’s promises, while still working toward their fulfillment. May we, on this day, and every day, give thanks to God for the saints of our church, past, present and future. May we remember who and whose we are.
Yours in Christ, Kathryn