A Parade of Saints Known and Unknown

Today we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints. The Gospel is the section of the Sermon on the Mount known as the Beatitudes: “Blessed are …” The Beatitudes are like a job description of the one who, operating out of faith in Christ, becomes one of the hagios, the holy ones we honor on this day. In the lives of the Saints, the Church holds up a life as an inspiration to what is possible with God’s grace. Continue reading

All Saints Day with the saints

During the first 300 year of the Christian church, the people of God endured periods of peace, but also extended periods of persecution. Especially in the local churches, each generation remembered the martyrs and the leaders who exemplified the faith. By the fourth century these women and men were honored in liturgies that commemorated their passing into God’s bright glory. In time, churches were named to honor their memory, sometimes even built on their tombs. And in time relics were collected and honored. Continue reading

Saints, known and unknown

angelico-saints-martyrsToday we celebrate, remember, and honor all the saints, known and unknown.  The feast day has its own history of how it came to be. Back in the earliest days of the Church, we did not so much think of “saints” but rather martyrs were especially esteemed. It was very much a local event, as the local church celebrated the anniversary of a martyr’s death on the anniversary date and in the place of martyrdom. By the 4th century the list of martyrs had grown considerably with some martyrs being celebrated more universally. The Church was caught between its desire to remember and celebrate the martyr’s witness and death, an ever expanding geography, and the practical matter of finding days to set aside to celebrate. Very soon there was a movement to find a common day to celebrate martyrs that were important to the Church while leaving the local communities to set aside days for martyrs that loomed larger in local memory.

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Becoming saints

Next Sunday is the celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. (Matthew 5:1-12)

Continue reading

All Saints Day with the saints

During the first 300 year of the Christian church, the people of God endured periods of peace, but also extended periods of persecution. Especially in the local churches, each generation remembered the martyrs and the leaders who exemplified the faith. By the fourth century these women and men were honored in liturgies that commemorated their passing into God’s bright glory. In time, churches were named to honor their memory, sometimes even built on their tombs. And in time relics were collected and honored. Continue reading

Saints, known and unknown

angelico-saints-martyrsToday we celebrate, remember, and honor all the saints, known and unknown. Back in the earliest days of the Church, martyrs were especially esteemed. The local church celebrated the anniversary of a martyr’s death in the name of Christ – on the anniversary date and in the place of martyrdom – it was all part of what people just knew. By the 4th century the list of martyrs was very much longer and the Church was caught between its desire to remember and celebrate the martyr’s witness and death, an ever-expanding geography, and the practical matter of finding days to set aside to celebrate. Very soon there was a movement to find a common day to celebrate martyrs that were important to the Church while leaving the local communities to set aside days for martyrs that loomed larger in local memory. Continue reading

All Saint: both and

angelico-saints-martyrsOne of the things I do is to keep reading, to refresh old thoughts, garner new thoughts and perspectives, and to continue to fuel soul, mind, and imagination. Sometimes the reading materials are books and sometimes – increasingly more often – articles garnered from the internet. One sight that I always “thumb through” is Journey With Jesus. The site is self-described as “A weekly webzine for the global church.” One of the primary authors on the site is Dan Clandenin. He comes from a Protestant perspective, but he brings good insight – insight and perspective that I have found advances pathways for Christian denomination to find common ground.

Sometimes Christians are “it is either this or that” with the implications it can’t be both. This is true to Protestants, Reformers, Evangelicals, Pentecostals, Catholics, and any moniker I have left out. In our best days, we acknowledge that in the realm of mystery, it is most often “both-and.”

That is why I particularly like Dan’s article Saints and Sinners. I might tweak a phrase here or there – but then that would be my take on such things. Overall, I love the trajectory – and I hope you enjoy the article.