You’d really think the church year is huge for me reading this post and the last one. I’m actually not all that liturgical of a guy, but I did commit to posting every day in November, so there has to be something.
Seriously though, All Saints’ Day is a day we could stand to appreciate more in the church today. It doesn’t make us Catholic– we don’t believe there are some believers who were so much better than everyone else that the church has given them some special status. The New Testament refers to all believers as saints, as those who have been made holy, cleansed by Christ, set apart for his kingdom. So today it’s appropriate for us to acknowledge our indebtedness to the saints who have gone before us, and to thank God for thousands of years of believers on whose shoulders we stand. The hymn For All the Saints praises God for the rich heritage these believers have passed on to us.
For All the Saints
William H. How and Ralph Vaughan Williams
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: