All Saints

Today is the festival for all the saints. You may know that the church intentionally created this festival in the fall to reinterpret Samhain and other festivals for the dead. The fear of the dead is common in most societies, but the lesson of All Saints is that those who have died in the Lord are to be remembered with joy and thanksgiving rather than fear. All Saints is not just for those who have official status as decreed by Vatican officials. It is for all the saints, especially for those whose names we do not know. Many of these people suffered horribly at the hands of others. They were raped, tortured, starved, and wounded in countless ways. The history of the saints is grim indeed, but the message of All Saints is that the forces of evil and hatred were not victorious when they try to stifle the message of love through threats and intimidation. In Christian art, the saints are often depicted as both physically whole yet honored for the signs of their ordeal. It is a statement that even our woundedness and our suffering may be holy and honored before God. We should not fall into the trap of viewing suffering itself as good or divine, but we should remember that the roll of saints includes those who were abused and broken. So, on this All Saints Day, honor those who loved to the end. Honor them not just in song, but in acts of extravagant love and daring goodness.

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