Today is All Saints Day

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One of the great things about absorbing an ecumenical spirit over a lifetime is the capacity to draw from streams of Christian tradition that are other than my own. My tribe within the Christian family has a very simple, lean, and adaptable loose-on-the-ground outlook, influenced strongly by the 19th century Second Great Awakening of the US frontier and the outcomes of the Wesleyan and Whitefield revivals of England. Catch cries and slogans like “Christians only, but not the only Christians,” and “no creed but Christ” mixed with sharp Lockean logic and sawdust trail evangelism marked us as suspicious of what was regarded as extraneous feasts and rites.

Hence the glazed over eyes and polite murmurings when I mention a desire to acknowledge All Saints Day – the day following Halloween (meaning “all saints eve”). My defense is a biblical one, taken from the Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

A combination of my Celtic bones, researching family history and my septuagenarian awareness of my many mentors that are no longer physically present, having been promoted to glory, orient me to the worthiness of this ancient rite carried by other liturgical streams,

Hence, on the first Sunday in November, it was my practice in later years of leading congregations to lead rites of thanksgiving and reflection on the lives of church members, ordinary folk who had gone before us, commemorating their legacy and contemplating that which we would leave for those who came after. It was yet another avenue for honoring the eternal Christ who dwells in our midst.

And so happy All Saints Day! For a reflection that goes deeper, click here.

Published by wonderingpilgrim

Okay Boomer - that I am. But not one of them know-it-all ones! Still learning that the more I know, the more I have yet to learn. What I do know, however, I know well.

3 thoughts on “Today is All Saints Day

  1. Good to see the two way time reference. The contemporary dimension also calls us to acknowledge & be thankful for the “stand-out” saints still living at local, national, & international levels regardless of the stream in which they are most active. So thank you St Dennis.
    Surely too the claim of “Christains only, but not the only Christians” demands we participate in such acknowledgements & honouring.
    Yet I could not even get a “member”, being a secondary school teacher & daughter of an (e freely long term) Elder to acknowledge even the origin & meaning of the word Halloween as you have defined it. Let alone have her cease condemning my observance of All Saint’s Day.
    Just as well tomorrow is All Soul’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you St Petros. I am always reassured by this little gem.

      β€œHe drew a circle that shut me out-
      Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
      But love and I had the wit to win:
      We drew a circle and took him In!”

      ― Edwin Markham

      Like

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