Greetings in Christ,
‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, as is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.’ Hebrews 12.1-2
This coming Sunday is All Saints, the day in which we remember those who have died in the year past. We also remember those who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus. Our baptism into Christ is also our entry into His triumph over death so that as we come to All Saints Day we need not be overwhelmed by the fear of death.
Death is a reality that no human being can ignore nor escape. We are fortunate that we live in a land where death is held at bay by modern medicine and most folk enjoy long lives with relatively few health concerns. Still, even we must face our final day’s approach in the knowledge that we cannot prevent its coming.
We face this reality in the confidence that comes from Christ’s having already confronted death and conquered it. By Jesus’ rising from the dead on Easter, we need no longer see death as the end, rather as the beginning, the door by which the child of God is ushered into the new life of God’s Kingdom. As St. Francis of Assisi wrote in his hymn, ‘All Creatures of Our God and King’
And you, most kind and gentle death,
Waiting to hush our final breath,
Oh, praise Him! Alleluia!
You lead to heaven the child of God,
Where Christ our Lord the way has trod.
In the glory of our Risen Lord, even death itself becomes the servant of God. For what death seeks to take from us God gives back in our rising in Christ.
Let us give thanks this All Saints Day for those baptized into Christ and for those at rest in Him as we all await the day of our resurrection.