Disciples, Apostles, and Saints!
This week, we observe the principal feast of All Saints Day on Sunday. It is the day in which we remember all of the saints of the church as one august body. It is a old feast of the church, dating back to the early 7th Century.
The focus of the feast is obviously the saints of the church: those persons whose character or actions had such a recognizable impact on the world that the church felt compelled to elevate them, honor them, and set them as an example of faith for us.
Modern convention has us looking for saints in our midst. And our custom, then, is to also remember those we knew but weren’t canonized as saints into the Great Cloud of Witnesses, but we assume ought to be there.
While we associate this practice with All Saints Day, it is consistent with the day after All Saints Day: All Souls Day, as the church renamed it All the Faithful Departed. This modern convention of combining the two days into one is fascinating. And brings new light to the purpose of saints.
Let us not focus so heavily on the people we know, however, and return our gaze this week to other people who have come before. People whose witness transcended cities and continents. Or whose vision of God challenges our own. People we like and those we don’t. An entire Cloud of Witnesses who can testify to the love of God in every age and in so many different ways. Let us celebrate, honor, and listen with joy, hope, and love.