FOR ALL THE SAINTS
William How, 1823–1897
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 perseverance the race that is marked out for us. (Hebrews 12:1)
Someone has described a “saint” as any Christian who makes it easier for others to believe in God. One of the neglected liturgical days in many Protestant churches is All Saints Day, which occurs on the first Sunday in November. This neglect is understandable because the tradition of the day is rooted in medieval Catholicism. Homage is given on this day to the departed canonized saints of the church.
There is, however, an underlying meaning to this day that evangelical Christians should use and recognize. Here, for example, are some lessons it can teach us:
• Every believer whom God has called by His grace and sanctified by His Spirit has been called to sainthood.
• A thankful spirit for the memories of those believers from our local church who were called to their heavenly home during the past year.
• Then, for many of us, there has often been one particular individual who has especially influenced our lives—directing us to God, tutoring us in truth, and modeling the virtues of the Christian life.
Bishop William W. How wrote the text of “For All the Saints” in 1864, for use in the Anglican church liturgy commemorating All Saints Day. It was originally titled “Saints Day Hymn—Cloud of Witnesses—Hebrews 12:1.”
How do we best honor the memory of loved ones and friends who have contributed to our lives? By rededicating our own life to God, obeying Him implicitly, and reaching out to the needs of others.
For all the saints who from their labors rest, who Thee by faith before the world confessed, Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest: Alleluia! Alleluia!
Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might; Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight; and Thou, in darkness drear, their one true light: Alleluia! Alleluia!
From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast, thru gates of pearl streams in the countless host, singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia! Alleluia!
For Today: Psalm 22:4, 5; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–17; Revelation 6:11; 7:9
Recall the various individuals who have especially influenced your life for God. Breathe a prayer of thanks for their memory.