In our thread of the Protestant tradition, All Saints’ Day is a time to remember all the Christians that have gone before us. Not just the incredible ones on whom the church has bestowed a heavenly title, but everyone that follows after Jesus of Nazareth.
It’s appropriate that All Saints’ Day follows right after Reformation Day because many of the saints we remember are people that sought to bring reformation to the Church. Some of their reformations were dramatic acts like Francis shedding his clothes and walking out of Assisi, Martin Luther nailing ninety-five theses on a church door, Mother Teresa loving lepers in Calcutta. We know the names of these men and women well.
Still some of these saints’ reformations were smaller but no less profound; countless women and men whose lives of quiet faith changed those around them. They were reformations that consisted of early mornings spent in prayer, casseroles brought to grieving families, compassion shown to individuals that others scorned, or perhaps just continual striving after God despite years and year of failure. The world does not necessarily know their names, but each of us probably know some of them.
These women and men were not perfect. Far from it. It is why the Church continually needs reforming, why we can never truly say that we are reformed. Yet in spite of their failures and flaws, we still call each of them saints. One day, we will join them. May we continue to reform the Church with the way we live our lives and thank God that grace covers our failures.
It is good for us to remember their lives, the way that they have changed the church, and the way that they have changed us. So let us remember our family and friends, poets and pastors, scholars and students, the famous and the forgotten, and everyone in between. Let’s celebrate all the things that God can do with a life and let’s march on as we follow after Christ.