On a recent Sunday at Church of the Advent, we celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day. All Souls remembers those who have died. All Saints celebrates saints today and past, known and unknown.
We sang: I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
Our Rector, Tim, told the congregation they had sung that favorite hymn at parishioner Anita Jones’ funeral a few months earlier.
He read the names of the recent dead, including Anita, and including Jean Jones, my mother-in-law.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus’ sake
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.
In Florida, as my mother-in-law lay in a coma, newly off life support, hospice social worker Jennifer told us, “we help you in your new relationship with your loved one.”
Perhaps the new relationship will be better than the old? (But that is the stuff of future posts.)
They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too.
For now we sit in silence, writing, reading, awaiting a delayed aircraft to take us back home after the memorial service. And we consider the lives of saints.