I received an inquiry today from someone who wanted to know if we had a service today. We don’t, and until she asked, I hadn’t even considered the possibility. We celebrate All Saints on the Sunday following November 1. So far as I can remember, that’s been the custom at every parish I’ve been at. That’s going to change.
All Saints is one of my favorite celebrations of the church year. I probably say that about all of them, but All Saints is unique because of what it is about. As I was writing a brief description of the service for our parish newsletter, I came across this explanation: “In the Prayer Book tradition All Saints’ Day is essentially a celebration of Christ in his whole Mystical Body—the ‘elect’ and the ‘saints’ in the New Testament sense of these terms.” (Quoted in Hatchett’s Commentary on the Book of Common Prayer).
It’s a celebration of the church; to use traditional language with which I am uncomfortable, the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant. It’s an important reminder that the community to which belong encompasses both the living and the dead; that we are united in our faith in the Risen Christ, all members of his body.
I want to sing Sine Nomine today–Ralph Vaughan Williams’ majestic “For All the Saints.” I want to hear the lessons that are appointed for the day. I want to join with my brothers and sisters on earth and in heaven in one hymn of praise.
Maybe next year…