Today is All Saints Day. Its a day we remember and honor those saints who have transcended from this life to life everlasting. says, “All Saints’ Day, also known as All Hallows’ Day, is a Christian holiday that is observed on November 1st in Western Christianity. All Saints’ Day is a Christian memorial day celebrating the honor of all church saints, whether known or unknown. It is a day set aside to honor all the saints who have lived righteous and holy lives in accordance with Christian teachings. All Saints’ Day is part of a broader tradition that includes All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) on October 31st and All Souls’ Day on November 2nd.”

In our Methodist tradition, we have generally honored those from among our church family who have passed away during the preceding year. There are churches where a flower is brought forth as the deceased person’s name is read, or a bell or chime tolls, or even a candle is lit or processed forward. These are traditions meant to truly honor the life of those who have gone on before us and joined the Church Triumphant.

But really, who are our saints, and how should we honor their memory? Thomas Merton says, “Saints are what they are not because their sanctity makes them admirable to others, but because the gift of sainthood makes it possible for them to admire everyone else. It gives them a clarity of compassion that can find good in the most terrible criminals. It delivers them from the burden of judging others, condemning other [persons]. It teaches them to bring the good out of others by compassion, mercy and pardon. A [person] becomes a saint not by conviction that [they are] better than sinners but by the realization that [they are] one of them, and that all together need the mercy of God.”

As I think about those I have loved and lost, each of them have been saints to me. I know this because they put up with all my peculiarities and quirks. Of course, my beloved Antoine was a true saint to me. He knew me inside out, we shared the same birthday and many of the same traits. Although he was 15 years younger than me, he had a maturity and grace beyond his years. He was a saint to me, not because he was so holy or righteous, I’m not capable of making that kind of assessment. He was a saint to me because of the love, grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness he always offered me. I assure you, on a day to day basis, I need lots and lots of all of that.

As we approach this All Saints Day, it might be good for us to remember our saints as those who, although very human and endowed with all their faults and failings, nonetheless have given us a glimpse of the God who lived in them.

There’s a song by Bob Carlisle entitled, We Fall Down. The song is about a person who passes a monastery every day. The person has a hard life, struggles aplenty. He wonders what it would be like to live there, “To be warm, well fed and at peace, to shut the world away.” He finally sees a priest and and asks him to tell him how life is inside that place. The priest replies…

“We fall down, we get up

We fall down, we get up

We fall down, we get up

And the saints are just the sinners

who fall down and get up.”

My Antoine, like all of your loved ones, had his faults and failings, but one of them was not failing to love, and to get up every time he fell down.

May this All Saints Day be a time of reflection for each of us. May we learn the lesson again from our saints, in the face of everything we must love.

Your fellow traveler on the Way,

Pastor Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *