Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.
~ Ephesians 2:19
All Saints Day will always be special to us, since it was the day that Jude was baptized last year. I’ve mentioned that to a few people recently and they were interested in how we came to that decision. If you would like to know more, here’s a post where I discuss why it was such a important experience for Jude and for us.
The church culture I grew up in never mentioned All Saints Day, which I attribute to the fact that they were afraid we would instantly turn into Catholics if we recognized any saints. The effect would be similar to that of Lot’s wife, who was turned to a pillar of salt immediately upon looking back at Sodom on their way out of town.
However, remembering the saints who have gone before us can establish an important understanding of how our lives are connected.
All Saints Day reminds us that we are part of a long history of God’s redeeming work. It’s easy to forget that the corporate body of Christ is a continuation. This isn’t the first time God has seen the stuggles we face. We share the story of those struggles with a massive “cloud of witnesses,” who have also experienced God’s mercy in ways that increased their faith.
Have you ever participated in a mission trip or an event in which there are people from a variety of Christian denominations? In those situations, it becomes much easier to see how much we share with other followers of Christ.
About 10 years ago, I was at the Youth Specialties convention in Pittsburgh, PA. I went alone, but one evening there was a group of youth ministers I had been sitting with who starting talking about grabbing dinner together. As we sat down together, our differences stood out first: male, female, Episcopal, Pentecostal, Baptist, and “non-denominational.” But the more we shared together about what was important to us, our sameness became obvious. At that moment, I realized more fully that the Kingdom of God was a full spectrum of color and variety. Suddenly, my role in God’s kingdom felt both smaller and more significant.
Our story on this earth matters because it is part of the larger story of those gone before us, those who serve beside us now, and those who will come after us.
Mark All Saints Day on your calendar for next year and take a few moments to enjoy your place in history (And if your church isn’t into that, I promise I won’t say a word).