On November 1st the church remembers the saints of God – all faithful servants and believers. The day is seen as a communion of saints who have died and of all Christian persons. All Hallows’ Eve, October 31 (from which our Hallowe’en traditions come); All Saints’ Day; and All Souls’ Day, November 2 (the Day of the Faithful Departed), are connected by tradition and are often celebrated together.
Early Christians has a profound sense of being linked through faith to those who had gone before them in death. Throughout the catacombs in which many early Christians were buried and are found Orants (from the Latin ora to pray), paintings on the walls depict the dead as if they were alive, with hands upraised in the act of prayer. Christians living under persecution were comforted and reassured by these images of the dead – who God had already delivered – praying for them in their own times of trial.
Yet, through me flashes this vision of a magnetic field of the soul, created in a timeless present by unknown multitudes, living in holy obedience, whose words and actions are a timeless prayer – “The Communion of Saints” – and – within it – an eternal life. Dag Hammarskjold
In the Apostles’ Creed we proclaim, “I believe in the Communion of Saints.” In so doing we acknowledge that we are supported and sustained by a vast fellowship of love and prayer. The men and women who have gone before us and passed through the door of death continue to be present with us. In the New Testament the term “saint” is broadly applied to all who belong to the community of faith. A family member, a teacher, a friend, the companion of one’s heart may have touched our lives in such a way that they continue beyond death to be an inspiration, a guide, and a source of blessing. The Holy Spirit binds us together in a relationship that remains unbroken by death.
Who might you add to this list of saints?