(In The Life Of The Church)
All Saints Day was Tuesday of this week. We didn’t have a liturgy that night, but we are going to be observing that day in one way or another during our liturgy on Sunday.
I didn’t grow up observing All Saints Day—which I guess could also be said of the majority of the Church calendar. In my church experience, we didn’t speak very often of “saints”—there was this strange aversion to anything that might be perceived as Catholic (I grew up a Southern Baptist). Somewhere along the way, I picked up surface-level knowledge of a handful of saints throughout history, and came to value them as people who well-embodied what it is to be formed in the way of Christ in a particular time and place. In light of this, holding them in our memory allows us to embrace their stories in ways that might inform our own lives. The stories are crafted through the artistry of the Spirit, and have the ability to inform and inspire the stories that we find ourselves in the midst of.
But this isn’t only true of famous or canonized saints. There are saints of all sorts lighting up the world. They are those caught up in the love of Christ—that Love that is decidedly unconditioned and relentless. They are recognizable not by the pious radiance of their every breath, but in the moments where the person God made them to be and the person they are is synchronized.
Let’s pause for a moment and let Malcolm Guite have a word about saints:
“The gathered glories”
Though Satan breaks our dark glass into shards,
Each shard still shines with Christ’s reflected light,
It glances from the eyes, kindles the words
Of all his unknown saints. The dark is bright
With quiet lives and steady lights undimmed,
The witness of the ones we shunned and shamed.
Plain in our sight and far beyond our seeing,
He weaves their threads into the web of being.
They stand beside us even as we grieve,
The lone and left behind whom no one claimed,
Unnumbered multitudes, he lifts above
The shadow of the gibbet* and the grave,
To triumph where all saints are known and named;
The gathered glories of his wounded love.
*I didn’t know what this was, and I’m probably not alone, so I’ll save you a Google: it’s a gallows.
While I’m tempted to comment on this line-by-line, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I want to address the broad idea about the relationship of saints and death and us. Saints are saints because of their being-held in the love of Christ. This is not what you would call a super exclusive club. In their mutual relationship to this Love, they find themselves woven together. Most of you are probably trying to exclude yourself from this kind of “saint” category—stop that. Saints don’t earn their title, but are instead what they are because of Christ, and you are found in that same Love. So anyway, we’re all held together by this shared Love. And just as death cannot separate us from the love of God, death cannot separate those caught in the Light of Christ from one another; not really. Loss still hurts, it still stings in some way, but we are not alone in our grief, and we are not left in our grief. We are left with stories that, just like those of the more famous saints, can inform and inspire our own stories.
So let’s celebrate them. And celebrate with them.
When we take communion, we proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. And in doing so, we proclaim also that he rewrote what dying means. We often think of communion as a time where we are united as a church in our shared meal, and that our church is united with a much broader community of people. We have a sense of the sort of lateral community with the broader church in communion, but we should also carry a sense of the community we join across time (both ways).
So, with all this in mind, we are encouraging you this Sunday to bring a picture of any loved ones you’ve lost whose story has served to inform or inspire your own journey toward Christ, or perhaps people who have impacted you from afar, and to place those pictures on the communion tables to hold this broader community in mind.
Made in Waco
Is a handmade/crafted local market and it is tomorrow at UBC!!!! So get out and either sell, shop or volunteer. Great way to start your Christmas shopping season and support local business and local beauty. If you have any questions email Jamie@ubcwaco.org.
Order of the Phoenix Cookout Fundraiser
Our middle school youth group will be holding a fund raiser/lunch after church this Sunday. For $5 (suggested donation) you get a burger chips and a soft drink. All proceeds go towards TOOTP budget.
Order of the Phoenix Game Night
Our middle school youth group (5th-8th) is having a game night, next Friday November 11th from 6:30-8:30 PM. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Middle Ages Wine Night
The Middle Ages will be meeting on Saturday November 12th at the Classy Glass Wine Bar for some chardonnay and to hear some saucy jazz featuring guitarist one Chuck Jennings. for more information email email@example.com.
Work is Worship
Coffee Makers: Joy & Ryan
Mug Cleaners: Dillon & Shane
Money Counter: Josh M.
- Sunday Sermon: Please be in prayer for the Rev. Dr. David Wilhite who will be preaching "When the Saints Go Marching In." Luke 6:20-31
- The Middle Ages at the Wine Bar: November 12
- Thanksgiving Love Feast: Nov 20th
- Advent Workshop: Nov 27th
- Backside Event: Dec 2nd
- Order of Phoenix Dallas Event: Dec. 3
- Study Hall: Dec 7th
- The Middle Ages Christmas Party Dec. 17
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