All Saints Day. A good day to begin the Thanksgiving Conspiracy.
On this day we remember all the saints who have gone before us. We remember that we are not adrift alone in the currents of history. The 11th chapter of the book of Hebrews recites a catalog of saints: Abraham, Moses, Samson, and others. But the close of the section is most telling, for the author states “therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perserverance the race set before us.”
A great cloud of witnesses. The continuity of the community of faith stretching all the way back. All the saints.
The example of the saints serves to encourage us. They finished their race strongly – and give us strength to do so as well.
Don’t think of all the saints just as those exceptional people who are giants in the history books. The cloud of witnesses is greater than that. Think, too, of those exceptional people who tower over your personal history. The saints whom God used to bless you in a particular and potent way.
My grandmother was a saint. She taught me to read, to shell peas, and she wielded a killer lob in badminton. She served home cooked vegetables that I wish I could sample again. And her vibrant faith still echoes in my soul.
A great cloud of witnesses, indeed. All Saints Day is our day to be thankful for those saints who have gone before.
Not in some morbid gloomy sense. This is a Thanksgiving conspiracy. Rejoice. Remember the good times. Look through old photos. Gather your loved ones around and say “Let us now remember the great cloud of witnesses …” and listen as the stories pour forth. Break out that old family recipe and prepare it, sharing it with your friends.
What are the greatest treasures you have received from some of these saints? Take the time to write them down. Thank God for them. Make a note on Twitter; share their photo on Instagram. Today, be grateful for the saints who have gone before.
Soli Deo Gloria