All saints (and a little bit of Cubs)
It’s all said and done, the Chicago Cubs have finally won another World Series. While I’m not that invested in baseball, it was a welcome change to have one positive thing to rally around with others. Cubs fans are so devoted, their sense of history runs deep. One story covering the World Series was about this sense of history. During these past seven games, long-time fans wrote tributes in chalk on the bricks of Wrigley Field. They etched the names of loved ones who were no longer around to watch their beloved Cubs. These tributes filled the walls in all sorts of rainbow colors. The number of names and dates, parents and grandparents, partners and friends swelled – the dearly departed who were celebrating right along with the living. This was a sporty version of All Saints Day, right out in the open for all to see.
This month we celebrate the saints in the church with the observance of All Saints Weekend. This day is set aside every November. It’s here to help us remember those who have gone before us in this life of faith. We light a candle for everyone who has died in our congregation this past year, knowing that the light of Christ burns for the dead as well as the living. All Saints Day is celebrated across Christian traditions, each with their own unique rituals of remembrance.
As Christians we believe that the sting of death has been swallowed up in Jesus Christ. We venture through our lives knowing that death will come, but with hope in God’s promise to never leave or forsake us. On All Saints Day, we proclaim this promise as a church. We acknowledge that we are connected as Christians. We are connected to the people sitting next to us in the pews, to people on the other side of the world, and to the people who have died in faith. We are all children of the same promise, adopted into God’s family. The writer of the Biblical letter of Hebrews writes about this family that has come before. Abraham, Moses, David, and Rahab are all named as heroes of the faith. Many others are lifted up, as those who have carved deep grooves for us to walk in as we navigate living as children of God.
Hebrews 12 calls this group a “great cloud of witnesses” (12:1).
The cloud of witnesses, of saints, has only grown. This All Saints Day, I hope we can feel enveloped by this cloud. The ones who have gone before us and the witnesses who surround us show us God’s love. We can anticipate what is to come without fear, knowing that God holds all these saints close; knowing that we will still be in God’s hands when we join that cloud.
–Amy Diller, pastor in residency