How great is it when All Saints Day is on Sunday. I just returned from our church’s All Saints’ Day Mozart Requiem. What staggering music and astounding contemplations. Really, it’s been an incredible day of thinking about those people who are no longer with us, and are safely home in heaven because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
The meditations of the Requiem cause me to reflect on realities I would otherwise not stop to consider. The focus on the certainty of death is not comforting to those without faith. The Requiem forces you to mull over the severity of death and what every one of us deserves without Christ. You could feel a little scared of the afterlife by encountering your own unworthiness and the fierce judgment of heaven, if you didn’t know that no one would be saved if it were not for faith in Christ. From singing the hymn “For All The Saints” before the concert started, to meditating to the soothing sound created by well trained voices singing in Latin, to remembering my own family members and special people who now live in heaven, to the Collect (or prayer) of the Day; I end this day full of peace, hope, and longing for heaven. My faith was vitalized by considering eternity and the rest God longs to bring each of us. At the back of the program I recognized several names of saints who now reside in heaven but not long ago graced my life. Their names were submitted by loved ones who could take this day to remember their loss with hope of being reunited at a future time. It is a day of comfort for our loss by the hope of our future rest with the saints in Christ.
All Saints Day is a day of hope. I love the Collect.
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord. Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
Indeed, it has been a day of remembering. I have been remembering in joy and expectation. Paul gave us the perfect words for All Saints Day when he wrote:
“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him (1 Thess. 4:13-14).
The modern celebration named Halloween derived its name from All Hallows Eve, the other name used for All Saints Day by the church. Halloween now has a life of its own far removed from the focus of the church event for which the day was named. It’s easy to miss the spiritual blessing the church father’s wanted to give Christ followers through taking a day to celebrate the saints in heaven and the example and hope we have through them. I hope you find joy and hope in the great mystery that we are invited to heaven through our relationship with Jesus Christ and live here on earth with hope and expectation of greater things to come. Jesus did His work for God on earth for the joy that was set before Him in heaven (Hebrews 12:2). Hope of better things to come encourages me as I live my few years on earth. Like Jesus, I want to do the hard work I have been given here knowing that my joy in heaven will be greater.