Monday, November 1, 2010

Giving Thanks for All His Saints

Fra Angelico

After celebrating All Hallows Eve last night with costumes, a fire in the woodburning stove, candy gleaned via Trick or Treating, and hot spiced cider, today's celebration of All Saints Day seems quietly it should be.

This Day we thank God for All His Saints...those who point the way to Christ. These pilgrims have trod the path hard before us, mapping our way so that others don't get waylaid, are not diverted. We read about and see their lives, learn from their struggles, their essential humanity working its way always toward Christ. Saints are not perfect but are people of the deep places: of deep prayer, of deep wisdom, of deep understanding of God's Kingdom Come.

The Collect for All Saints from the 1928 Book of Common 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 so 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 unfeignedly love thee; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Epistle for All Saints is read in the seventh chapter of the Revelation of Saint John the Divine, verses 2-4 and 9-17, from The English Standard Version:

Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
The Gospel for All Saints is written in the fifth chapter of the Gospel according to Saint Matthew, beginning in the first verse (English Standard Version):

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
And so we give thanks today with fellow saints who live for Christ in a Community of Gratitude, all of us on the Journey to One Thousand Gifts at A Holy Experience:

Lord God, the Father of all Your Saints--those living on earth and those living in heaven--with grateful hearts this day, we thank You for the Saints who shine Your Light into dark, dreary, hard, sin-filled places, living in Your Joy, Your Peace, Your Beauty--the Grace-filled Saints whom I see and know and love and learn from:

381. husband, a saint of saints who selflessly serves and graciously lives with me, a man of the deep places

382. mother, a woman of prayer and joy

383. ...Judith, an always fruit-bearing spiritual mother and dear friend who speaks Spirit and joy through poetry, living fully-invested in Him

384. ...Kathryn, a spiritual older sister who shares my soul and lives a difficult life with stunning beauty and grace

385. ...Diana, a dear friend and elder sister who carries joy and laughter into the hard places

386. ...Sarah, whom I have never met personally but who understands deep places and writes of them with Grace and Truth

387. ...Noko, my sister in so many ways, who infuses joy despite distance and time and hardness in life

388. ...Carmen, my sister who teaches without teaching, who lives deep and beautiful while life is hard as stone and grief burns her soul

389. ...Vera, my sister across the states who taught me to pray, taught me His Word, and infuses joy and Spirit where'er she roams

390. ...Johanna, my sister who lives and loves and prays deep and joyful, speaking Spirit and Truth in the hard places

Thanking Him for All His Saints, this Day and always,

holy experience

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