Saints Alive!

Two observances were marked last week. The first was, Halloween, observed on the final day in October. It has only been in the last while it has become popular in Australia. While there is more to it, generally we associate it as a time of the year when children and adults go door to door ‘trick or treating’ for sweets. Halloween stirs up varying opinions amongst Christians, one being, whether it is appropriate for Christians to observe a supposedly pagan festival. Whatever your opinions might be, I like the thought of children who voluntarily, for several hours, detach themselves from their iPad and iPhone, computers and social media and instead socialize and have fun with others as they walk together (think of the exercise they get to do) to go knock on doors of homes for treats.

The other special day that was observed is All Saints Day. This day immediately follows Halloween and falls on the 1st November. All Saints Day is a Christian festival to honour all the saints known and unknown. We often think of saints as being people who have done great and mighty things and therefore are above our league, think of St Paul, St Augustine of Hippo, John Wesley, Rosa Parks, Oscar Romero or Mother Teresa just to name a few. However, the words to a hymn traditionally sung to mark All Saints Day, reminds us that saints are alive and well and dwell amongst us, in fact, have you ever thought that other people might consider you a saint! Think about this as you sing along:

I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus’ sake
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.
They lived not only in ages past; there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too.

Lesbia Scott, 1929.

So, friends let us joyfully sing this hymn to honour all the saints of God, including you and me, who: “…loved their Lord so dear, so dear, and his love made them strong; and they followed the right for Jesus’ sake the whole of their good lives long.

‘Amor et pacis in dies tardo remeavit solus sanctus’.
Love and peace on a belated All Saints Day.

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