Thursday, 1 November 2012

A Blessed All Saints Day

All saints day is a wonderful day when we are reminded that we are not alone in our journey of faith but indeed are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses ( Hebrews 12.1).

There is often a tension in our iconography andlanguage around the use of the term Saint. Saint often becomes associated withsinlessness – “Oh she is a saint “meaning never does any wrong. Saints seem tobe distinct from sinners in modern parlance.

It is true of course that there are those who havebeen canonised by the church as individuals who have lived an exemplary life, alife of outstanding piety and virtue that ensure that they become one of those remembered by name in the life ofthe church and even given a day upon which to be remembered. But to say thattheir life on earth was without sin cannot be correct as we are reminded inscripture “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23)

All Saints day therefore is not just a time tofocus on those who have gone before us and whose lives and prayer continues toinspire and strengthen us on our journey. It is also a time to give thanks forone another, fellow saints at St john and St Matthias,  all of us who are surrounded by a great cloudof witness and called by God and knit together into a holy fellowship.

So often I think of that “cloud of witness” asthose Saints in the presence of God:
“ Those saints who before us have found theirreward” and
“whose journey is ended,
whose perils are past,
they believed in the light
and its glory is round them
where the clouds of earth’s sorrow are lifted atlast” 
(In our day of thanksgiving”)

This All Saints tide I will be giving thanks foreach one of you, the Saints of St John and St Matthias, and for all that youteach me and show me that is of God and his love towards us.

I was passing through the tube this week and sawthis lady amidst the hustle and bustle of life at Hendon Tube station. I wasanxious to catch a train but paused a moment to speak with her as she collectedmoney for the British Legion.
It made me wonder what others saw and they rushedpast to catch a train of push their way out of the station, of course the truthwas that many walked on as if she was not even there.
Lady Alma has worked for 27 years at the Conventin Edgware. She showed me her CBE which was awarded her for a life timededicated to raising money for good causes. She ran the Marathon earlier thisyear, her 95th year, as she has every year since the Marathon firstcame to London.
What anamazing woman, what a saint of God – Abeloved sanctified faithful sister present in Hendon one of the great cloud ofwitnesses who surround us -
A blesses Saints tide to you all

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