Last year I posted two items concerning Reformation Day and our need for a new Reformation. This year let me look more towards the idea of All Saints Day. I am not big on an official liturgical calendar, but it is right for us to pause to consider the great cloud of witnesses that have gone before us. We impoverish ourselves when we act as if ours is the first (or even second or third) generation to seek to follow Christ and think through what it means to be His people. Below is a hymn that I love- I use that word advisedly. I did not grow up singing this hymn- but I wish I had. I remember where I first heard it and how it moved me. Since I have found all the verses from Cyberhymnal. I am almost always moved to tears when contemplating this hymn. I offer it for your contemplation. You can listen to the original tune here (some have produced new tunes for the hymn, but I do not think they are an improvement on this one).
We are not alone in this. Our brothers and sisters have gone before, and noticing their faith and endurance and God’s provision to them will aid us on our way. We are not alone. We are a part of the great fellowship of all the saints! And one day we will celebrate together in the presence of the Savior of us all. Let us give thanks for the example of those who have gone before us (Heb 13:7).
For All the Saints
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:
Words: William W. How, in Hymns for Saint’s Days, and Other Hymns, by Earl Nelson, 1864.