For All the Saints
By Charlie Dupree
November first is known as All Saints’ Day. Since November first often falls on a weekday, the church allows us to celebrate it on the Sunday following. This Sunday, therefore, St. Paul’s will celebrate All Saints’ Day. In the early church, the feast day was kept to remember the saintly “major hitters.” But down the line, it became the custom of the church to celebrate those lesser known or unknown saints in the wider fellowship of the church, especially family and friends. For this reason, it is the church’s practice to read aloud the names of our loved ones who have passed on to the “church triumphant.”
On All Saints’ Day, I always remember my friend and first spiritual director, Tom Cure. Tom was a priest, but before that he was a monk. He was the person who taught me about prayer. He was a slow-moving person with a very quick, dry wit. He taught me a lot during my first years of ordained ministry. He was very directive with me, but also very gentle. As I look back on our time together, I notice all the times that he corrected me or steered me in a different direction and I didn’t even know it was happening! There’s a chair in my office that belonged to him. It’s not very comfortable, but it reminds me of his solid, steady, quiet presence. Not a Sunday passes when I don’t think of him and give thanks for the many ways that he shaped me. Maybe you have people like Tom in your own life.
During the Eucharistic Prayer on Sunday, we will have an opportunity to name those people who have died and who have been a part of our story. We’ve had opportunities to call in those names to the church office, but if you haven’t, don’t worry . . . you’ll have a chance to add your own names to the great cloud of witnesses on Sunday. The point is to give thanks to God for giving these people to us, to love and to care for us, for our church, for our society, and for our world.
“I sing a song of the saints of God,” the hymns says, “patient and brave and true.”
Have you ever thought that you might be a person who reflects patience, bravery, and truth? Hmmmmm . . . that must make you a saint.
See you Sunday, (Don’t forget to fall backward)
Preferred pronouns: he, him, his
Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church