All Saints Day is an opportunity to give thanks for those who have gone before us in the faith. It is a time to celebrate our history, what United Methodists call the tradition of the church.
From the early days of Christianity, there is a sense that the Church consists of not only all living believers, but also all who have gone before us. For example, in Hebrews 12 the author encourages Christians to remember that a "great cloud of witnesses" surrounds us encouraging us, cheering us on.
Charles Wesley, John's brother, picks up on this theme in his hymn that appears in our United Methodist Hymnal as "Come, Let Us Join our Friends Above," #709. In the first verse, he offers a wonderful image of the Church through the ages:
Let saints on earth unite to sing, with those to glory gone,
for all the servants of our King in earth and heaven, are one.
On All Saints Day we can remember all those who are part of the "communion of saints" we confess whenever we recite The Apostles' Creed. We share stories of those "to glory gone."
Retelling these stories grounds us in our history. These memories teach us how God has provided for us through the generosity and sacrifice of those who have come before us. The stories of the saints encourage us to be all God has created us to be.
On All Saints Sunday this year (November 6), we were given paper crosses on which to write the names of our loved ones whom we wish to honor. If you were not able to be with us in person to participate, you can use this form to submit names and we will add them to the crosses which will be used in our sanctuary throughout the year.