For the Saints of God are Folk like You

Stewardship Reflection, Friday, October 30

By: Missy Roberts

All Saints’ Day commemorates all saints, known and unknown. It is a day of reflection and communion between the earthly and heavenly saints. We take time to remember the faithfully departed, who have gone before us and recognize our future saints with the sacrament of baptism. The communion of Saints are the named saints of old, our “personal” saints who have lived and modeled a life of faith, present day saints who are following God’s call for them and those who are being baptized. At baptism when we are sealed and marked as God’s own, we are accepted into this full community of faith and in time look forward to a reunion with all the saints. A time when we are all one in Christ.

There are two hymns that epitomize All Saints Day. The hymn “For All the Saints” remembers those who have confessed and lived a full life of faith and encourages us to be strong and keep that faith. The second hymn “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” extolls the everyday saints who live among us. The two hymns reflect the day, remembering our past and looking to the future.

All Saints’ Day is a day of reflection and nostalgia for me. The first time I remember hearing “For All the Saints” was an incredibly powerful and memorable experience. I was 11 years old attending my cousin’s graduation from The Virginia Theological Seminary and the thunderous voices in the clergy-filled church truly made known the triumph and communion of all the saints.

On All Saints’ Day 1993, our son was baptized with water from the Jordan River. He was surrounded by joyful family, godparents and friends singing the familiar hymn “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God”.

It was only a couple of years later that we sang “For All the Saints” at my mother’s funeral. Each All Saints’ Day I remember her as we lift our voices together singing this familiar hymn.

During this unusual time our community of faith looks and feels so different. We won’t see St. Mary’s traditional parade of the Saints of God this year. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t see saints of God. God’s grace is overflowing at St. Mary’s. In the face of anxiety and uncertainty, many of “our” saints have unselfishly shown love for neighbors by connecting with them through calls and letters, preparing meals, packets for children and serving CARITAS guests at the beginning of the pandemic. During the recent vestry engagement conversations through zoom with the various ministries of the church, it was evident that parishioners are eager to share their many gifts and talents to serve others within our church family and with others through our Outreach ministries.

As we celebrate All Saints’ Day together or virtually, we give thanks not only for the saints who kindled our faith, but also for those saints who accompany us along our spiritual journey and encourage us to follow God’s calling. “The world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus’s will. You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church or in trains or at shops or at tea, for the saints of God are folk like me, and I mean to be one too” with God’s help. This year you meet them in schools, or in hospitals, or neighborhoods, in zoom meetings, or at outdoor worship, for the saints of God are folk….just….like….you.

All Saints’ Prayer
O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord, grant us grace to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignably love thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
-The Book of Common Prayer 1823 version