The Shape: All Saints Day

Each year the Christian calendar takes us on a journey with Christ. We anticipate His coming (Advent) and celebrate His arrival (Christmas). We receive Him as the Light of the World that has entered our darkness (Epiphany). We walk with Him on His road to the cross (Lent). We witness His triumphal entry, His crucifixion, and His glorious resurrection (Holy Week and Easter). We stand with His disciples as they watch Him return to His Father (Ascension Day) and as the Holy Spirit gives birth to the Church (Pentecost).

Then during Ordinary Time, this Spirit patiently forms us into the people of God. Near the end of that time, only weeks before we crown Jesus as King of all Kings, we are given a glorious overview of what it means to be His Church, His Body, His Bride. This is the purpose of All Saints’ Day. “Saints” literally means “the holy ones”. On All Saints’ Day we consider what it means to be “the holy ones,” members of the Church Universal spanning all ages, nations, and human divisions.

As we consider All Saints’ Day, we recall Isaiah’s description of the great banquet where all God’s people will feast together and death will be destroyed (25:6-9).  We call to memory Daniel’s vision of the coming and goings of the various earthly kingdoms, culminating in God’s saints possessing His eternal Kingdom (Daniel 7:1-18). We are given a foretaste of our destiny as we welcome the King of Glory into His holy temple (Psalm 24). We sit on the mountainside and listen to Jesus describe what it means to live in the Father’s presence, now and for all eternity (the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:1-12). And with John we watch as Christ’s pure and lovely Bride descends for unending union with her Husband (John 21:1-6).

All Saints’ Day is a chance to revel in our oneness with Christ and all His holy people. In this dark and difficult world, it is a reminder of who we are even now and who we are surely becoming in Him.

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