On November 1st many churches that come from Western Christian traditions celebrate All Saints Day. All Saints Day gives us a chance as a community of faith to remember those we are in communion with, who have died and gone on to glory. It gives us a chance to celebrate their faith and ours, a faith we hold in common, a faith that links us together as the Body of Christ. All Saints Day allows us the opportunity to remember that sainthood, that is being holy, is not something we do for ourselves, or even one another, but something God does in us, both communally and individually.
It is as we remember and celebrate those who have come before us that we might also take the opportunity to remember and give thanks for all that is possible because of their faithful action and their trust in God. It is thanks to the saints gone before us that this congregation is here, in Buffalo. It is thanks to the saints gone before us that we have the scriptures collected in one volume, in a language we can understand. It is thanks to the saints gone before us that we have the beautiful music we sing and play during our times of worship. It is thanks to the saints gone before us that we have connections and heritage with churches all around the world. And it is thanks to the saints gone before us for the faith we have today, for they are the ones who made the promises at our baptisms to walk with us on this journey; praying for us, teaching us, and supporting us as we follow the path Jesus walked before us.
As we remember the saints, celebrating their faith and giving thanks for God’s presence in their lives, we must remember that the same Spirit working and moving in them is also working and moving in us. The grace of God in our lives, the faith we hold, and the holy and healing work the Spirit is doing in us all serve as signs that one day we will, by God’s grace, be counted among the saints. Thus in recognition of those who have come before us, those who will come after us, and most of all in thanksgiving to Christ Jesus who is our help and our salvation, we have the responsibility to be good stewards of the faith that has been handed us. It is not our work that saves, but it is our work that makes known the saving grace of God.
So as we spend time remembering the saints and giving thanks for their faithful lives, let us remember that the faith we have received is not ours alone, but ours to pass on. The grace we have been given is to be shared, stewarded, and given away, for there is more than enough for those who have gone before, all who are here now, and those who have yet to arrive.