For All The Saints
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I did it again…I cried in church tonight. It happens every All Saints Day. We sing For All The Saints and I feel very brave and strong and sing joyfully for about three verses. Then I weep. I’m not a terribly emotionally charged person. I don’t cry about much. Unless I am pregnant Hallmark commercials have no effect on me.
I am much more stoic than my mother, she cries way more than me. I grew up watching my mom cry in church. She is emotional, I am made for mothering a gaggle of boys.
But when we are dealing with God’s awesome promises, and the foretaste of heaven and visions of all the Christian saints, all bets are off. When I picture my loved ones and brothers in the faith all endlessly praising God, clothed in white…I weep. And what mother would not be moved by the thought of “Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.”
Between the readings tonight we sang another one of my favorite hymns, Behold A Host Arrayed in White”. We sang the first two verses between the Old Testament and Epistle lesson, and the third verse before the Gospel. When a hymn is split up, I find that I pay more attention to the words. Because of this I noticed something I had not noticed before. Near the end of the first verse is the line:”They now serve God both day and night; They sing their songs in endless light.” To me this line speaks volumes about vocation. Is that not what we are called to do? Are we not to serve God both day and night, by living out our callings, whatever they may be?
The motto of the hospital where I work is “Let all be received as Christ”. This seems like such a simple and basic principle, and just a natural outpouring of how we should live out our lives as Christians. BUT, reality and our fallen condition leaves us with crabby coworkers and difficult patients, and things that cannot be made better, and somehow receiving all as Christ becomes difficult, but a calling none the less.
I cannot wait for the day when serving God both day and night entails singing songs in endless light…I have a lot of favorite hymns!
Come Lord Jesus.
Behold a host, arrayed in white, like thousand snow clad mountains bright!
With palms they stand; who is this band, before the throne of light?
These are the saints of glorious fame, who from the great affliction came
And in the flood of Jesus’ blood are cleansed from guilt and shame.
They now serve God both day and night; they sing their songs in endless light.
Their anthems ring as they all sing with angels shining bright.