For All Your Saints, O Lord (ELW 427)
1 For all your saints, O Lord,
who strove in you to live,
who followed you, obeyed, adored,
our grateful hymn receive.
2 For all your saints, O Lord,
who strove in you to die,
who counted you their great reward,
accept our thankful cry.
3 They all in life and death,
with you, their Lord, in view,
learned from your Holy Spirit’s breath
to suffer and to do.
4 For this, your name we bless
and humbly pray anew
that we like them in holiness
may live and die in you.
5 To God, the Father, Son,
and Spirit, ever blest,
the One in Three, the Three in One,
be endless praise addressed.
In many of our churches, today is the celebration of All Saints’ Sunday. One practice that especially touched my heart happened in a congregation where large sheets of paper were taped up in the sanctuary for people to come early to worship and write in the names of remembered saints—family members, friends, and others—dear saints who had touched our lives and helped to form our own faith—people like Mrs. Anderson, my 5th grade Sunday School teacher, whom I many years later accused of being responsible for my ending up going to the seminary.
On this All Saints’ Sunday perhaps it is also a good time to reach out to those dear saints who are still with us, say thank you for the ways they continue to reflect the love of Christ in our lives and in our communities, just perhaps surprise someone with the realization that their “small offering” or gift of service made a huge difference in someone’s life!
Thank you, Loving God, for “all your saints…who strove in you to live, who followed you, obeyed, [and] adored.” May we, like them, continue to lift our hymns of praise as we live lives of service and love. Amen.