There was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying,
Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!
(First reading-Revelation 7:9)
All Saints Day. A great day. A day of multitude. A day when we celebrate special friends, the saints. I deliberately say friends.
In the Apostles Creed (390 AD), we profess belief in the "communion of saints". Now, some, of course, understand the "saints" to be all believers, and this can be held. I am of the school of theological thought, however, that understands the saints precisely to be those "standing before the throne". And, if we are in communion with them, then they journey with us-actively. The saints are not simply distant models of good Christian living (who serve as a constant reminder that we are falling short!). They are friends, who are instruments of God's love and light for us. Why would God not do this with these sisters and brothers? Do we not hope that all of our sisters and brothers in Christ are instruments of God's love and light for us (and we for them)?
St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) asks the question very deliberately:
Ought we to call upon the saints to pray for us?
Since the saints who are in heaven are nearest to God, the order of the Divine wisdom is such that we, who, while we remain in the body are pilgrims from the Lord, should be brought back to God by the saints who are nearest to Him: and this happens when the Divine goodness pours forth its effect into us through them.
We have so many more friends than we realize, assisting us on this incredible pilgrimage of faith.
Yours with them,
From the desk of the Rector