Saints are people who know something profound about love, that suffering is connected with it. They learned the path of sainthood is not one of accolades but accusations. They were charged with demanding change because they wanted people to know more about God than others could stand to have revealed. They challenged governments and leaders who were exploiting others. They worked to bring justice to those who were ground down by unjust systems. And in their dedicated work, they were jailed, beaten, maligned, and sometimes murdered.
We are pilgrims of the saints. We should read about them because they are models who challenge us to use our assets as part of God’s redemptive plan. We pray with them because they bring us a sense of connectedness between our world and the next. We hallow their days on liturgical calendars because they have each given us unique insights into what it means to live a life to God.
On this day we celebrate them all, knowing that God adds to their number all the time. We find ourselves amidst a cloud of witnesses, perhaps singing a favorite hymn that honors them. If we don’t have music we should at least read the words of those hymns today, because they capture the deep resonance of their lives.
-- -- the Rev. Ben E. Helmer
Saturday, November 1, 2008
All Saints Day
From a sermon for All Saints Day: