The All Saints Day service is a powerful worship experience, offering healing to the congregation and to each individual as we honor and remember those who have died, and celebrate the hope of Christ‘s salvation. All Saints Day is not new but has deep roots in our Christian heritage. I find this service to be particularly comforting in nature providing a personal reminder of our humanity, our life, death, and resurrection.
Like the Apostle Paul, we use “saints” to signify the dedicated members of Christ’s church. Our saints are the people we ourselves have known and revered, as well as those who have served Christ through the ages. When we think of it this way, we realize how connected we are to “the great cloud of witnesses” who have loved God throughout the ages.
As individual saints of the church are honored by those closest to them, the entire community enjoys the grace of remembering. A congregation shares the memory of all the people who have worshiped together. The stories of the saints and the living cannot be separated. They are often the people who encouraged, contributed to, or shaped our faith journey. As we remember others, we are reminded that one day we will also be a saint of the church. In the observance, scripture, and the word proclaimed we should consider what we have contributed or will contribute to the Body of Christ.
All Saints Day gives us the opportunity to reflect on and give thanks for those who have been influential on our spiritual formation and growth. In turn, we are all reminded of the influence our own lives can have on others. Hopefully, we will also be reminded to lead lives worthy of imitation in our walk with God. In this way, the service not only brings comfort but encourages us to be active members of Christ’s church.
The United Methodist Book of Worship offers a specialized liturgy for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper during All Saints Day. We are reminded of the unbroken bond between ourselves and the saints of the past and the matriarchs and patriarchs of the Old Testament.
In our participation in the Lord’s Supper, we recognize the continuum of life. In our understanding of eternal life, we have the ability to tear down the walls of separation between life and death. Even in our mortality, we live in certain hope of life in God’s kingdom on earth and life beyond death. We are reminded that as Christians, we are connected with all who went before us and this service gives us the opportunity to actively remember this grace of unbroken love and life.
May the Grace and Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.