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 blest.
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.
Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine,
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
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 servants cometh rest;
sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
But then 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,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
One of the persons I cherish came to talk to me a few days before my first All Saints Sunday at the congregation I currently serve. "We better be singing 'For All the Saints' on Sunday, or I might not come!" She, of course, was joking but at the same time somewhat serious, and a great conversation followed. Music has a powerful way of connecting us to the faith, and in this case, of reminding us of our connection to the faithful. Words aptly met with melodies keep us humming far after worship and into the weeks, months, and years that follow. I find myself grinning each time I catch my children (ages 8 and 10) singing "Glory to God in the Highest" or "This is the Feast" from whatever liturgical setting we are currently using while they are doing ordinary things—playing outside, working on homework, or setting the dinner table. Music provides both medium and message as faith is connected both to stories of old and our everyday life. What songs of faith carry you through each day?
When we sing, "For all the saints who from their labors rest..." who comes to mind for you? Do you think of notables of faith like Francis of Assisi or Catherine of Siena, do you recall personal connections to loved ones who taught and nurtured you, passing on this rich faith we cherish so deeply? For the last few years I now think of this new fri
We give you thanks, O God for the gift of song, for those who taught us the sweet melodies of faith, and for all the faithful of every time who continue to sing your praises. Give us the tune that catches on among others, that all may come to hum along with you. Amen.