What is All Saints’ Day?
All Saints' Day is the feast that the Church sets apart to remember and celebrate all Christian Saints known and unknown. In the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 27:52), the term saint refers to the bodily resurrection of “saints who had fallen asleep” at the moment of Jesus’ death. This usage of saint later became popular, and as time went on saint is often understood as those who have done amazing things for the Kingdom of God and achieved the status of sainthood as well as those who have passed on from this side of life to the next.
However, this would be a limited understanding of the Christian sainthood. In the New Testament, the word saint or a better translated word, “holy one”, occurs sixty-three times to designate the members of the early Christian communities, understood as God’s distinct people. In this understanding, to be a saint is to realize that God made us special, called us by name, and gave each of us specific gifts for a life of meaning and purpose.
While we often think of serving God through grandiose ideas, we forget that God calls us to serve in major ways as often as in small acts of caring and service. For example, God might lead us with great vision to establish an educational institution for generations to come; God might inspire us to serve as a missionary in a far corner of the world; or God might give us the gifts and talents to discover the latest treatment for cancer. On the other hand, God might call us to speak softly and caringly to a frightened child or to an elderly person who can’t find the way home. God might call us to take care of a hurting animal; or God might need us to share a portion of our lunch to a homeless person who had gone to bed hungry last night.
To be a saint is just that, to know who you are before God and to trust that God loves you and calls you to live out your life for others as Jesus lived out his life for God and for us. If you are willing to respond to God’s call, you don’t have to be too concerned whether you have the right competence for the tasks. This God of ours has continuously called on the most unlikely people to be of His service, so why would we be concerned of inadequacy? If you don’t believe me, just read the Bible.
This Sunday, Chapel Hill will celebrate All Saints' Sunday. Come and remember the loved ones we have lost, knowing that God has brought them home from this life through the gateway of death to a new life with the saints who have gone there before. Also, on this Sunday, we will remember that we’re in a “great cloud of witnesses”; that together with other saints of our time, we will work to serve the world that God loves so much.
See you on Sunday,