One of the things I love about being Anglican is discovering the church calendar. Protestant Evangelical Americans miss out on so much when we throw away the feast days and Advent and Lent! All Saints Day has a fond place in my heart because Calvin was baptized on All Saints Sunday. I am sad to say that we almost forgot about it today and didn't do anything with the kids to celebrate.
I am already making plans to make All Saints a bigger deal than Halloween next year. I want Calvin and Hobbes to learn about those who have paid a great cost for the Gospel and to remember those whom we love, who may not have been great martyrs, but who are still part of the saints. Maybe their PopPop is hanging out with Augustine or having a chat with Cuthbert. (My theology of what happens between death and the second coming is a bit fuzzy. Being Catholic would be so much easier.) No matter, there are a lot of amazing people whom we will one day meet and whose lives, in the meantime, can inspire us. So on this feast day, I leave you with this hymn.
For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost: