Long ago John Wesley, our Methodist founder, wrote in his journal, “Nov. 1 was a day of triumphant joy, as All Saints’ Day generally is. How superstitious are they who scruple giving God solemn thanks for the lives and deaths of his saints!”
This Sunday, we will celebrate All Saints Sunday, giving thanks to God for all the saints who have gone before us. It is a solemn occasion, as we name those who have died during the past year and light a candle for each. It is a joyful occasion, in that we give thanks for their influence on us, on our church, on our community, on our world, and for their lives with Christ that never end.
I’m sure each of us can recall some person or persons who deeply influenced us in regard to faith.....parents, grandparents, teachers, mentors.....persons who lived out faith, embodying what faith means in their very lives. We are who we are today because of them. While we name aloud certain ones, each of us will undoubtedly name others in our hearts.
It is fitting that we will celebrate communion this Sunday. Communion has that mystical quality, that deep meaning that is beyond simple bread and wine/juice. There is something going on that is beyond sight and sound and touch. The hymn, “For the Bread Which You Have Broken” puts it this way in the third stanza: “With our sainted ones in glory seated at the heavenly board, may the church that’s waiting for you keep love’s tie unbroken, Lord.” As we gathered at the table earlier this month for World Communion, we sought to be especially aware of our brothers and sisters around the world at the Lord’s table. This week, we think even further, to the “sainted ones in glory,” with whom we are united through Christ. “The communion saints,” it has been called.
Come this Sunday, if you have lost a loved one this year, or if you have ever lost a loved one, whose life and faith deeply touched, moved, and shaped you, ready to give thanks once again for their lives on this earth and their lives that never end.
See You Sunday at the Place of Triumphant Joy!