All Saints Day

John Wesley called All Saints Day “a day I peculiarly love.”  It’s the day we remember those who have gone before us and are now present with us in the “communion of the saints.”

Charles Wesley gave us a hymn – No. 709 in our hymnal – that teaches about All Saints Day:

“Let saints on earth unite to sing
with those to glory gone,
for all the servants of our King
in earth and heaven are one.”

All Saints Day points toward the promise of that day when God’s Kingdom will fully come and God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  It reminds us of the promise that though “now we see in a mirror, dimly, then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12)

When we call the names of those who have joined the saints around the throne in the past year, I’ll be remembering my father in law.  I miss him a lot.  I believe that, thanks to the resurrection, we will see one another again.  

There’s an old gospel song that says:
Until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on,
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.

As followers of the Risen Christ, we are called to live now in ways that are consistent with the way we believe things will be then. Jesus’ parables are clear that the question is not “When is Jesus coming again?” but “What will I be doing when he gets here?”  The question is not “When will Jesus vision of the Kingdom of God be fulfilled?” The question is “How am I participating in that Kingdom among us right now?”

We invite others to follow Jesus Now because we know that Then every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. (Philippians 2:10-11) We care for one another in Christian community Now because we know that Then God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. (Revelation 21: 4)

We feed the hungry, heal the sick, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners and seek economic justice for the poor Now because Jesus said that’s the way every nation will be judged Then. (Matthew 25:31-46)

Writing from a Nazi prison cell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer declared:
“There remains for us only the very narrow way of living every day as if it were our last, and yet living in faith and responsibility as though there were to be a great future…It may be that the day of judgement will dawn tomorrow, and in that case, though not before, we shall gladly stop working for a better future.”

Be mindful the new day is coming, the day of resurrection.  Until that day, live each day as though it were your last.