November 3

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Readings for Nov 4

… and All Saints’ Day

Psalm 146Ruth 1:1-18Hebrews 9:11-14Mark 12:28-34

November 1 is All Saints’ Day, a commemoration dating back to the 4th century. It was founded to honor those who have died for their faith. Halloween, or All Saints Eve, is a time for trickery. All Saints Day is a day to praise God for his faithful people—especially those, but not only those, who have been faithful to death.

Hebrews 12 tells us that there is a “great cloud of witnesses” cheering us on, praying for us, and serving as examples in faith for all of us to follow. This cloud of witness includes all those worthy to be remembered on All Saints’ Day from the past and all those who will be in the future. Hebrews 12 also reminds us that those saints who suffer today are worthy of our honor and deserving of our prayers. It is our responsibility to lift them up.

It cannot be an accident. The timing has to be on purpose. This weekend is marked out as an international day of prayer for the persecuted church. In our country we live in relative safety and rarely, if ever, suffer for being Christian. But, this is not the case everywhere. Whether it is North Korea, or China, or countries where Christians, and others, suffer under Islamic fundamentalists, there is a large number of our brothers and sisters who regularly suffer for their faith. Some of them even die for it.

We belong to them and they belong to us. We are part of God’s family, we are all equal members of the body of Christ. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to pray for them this weekend and always. It is also appropriate that we honor the memory of those who have suffered and pray for those who presently do.

Below is the Collect for All Saints’ Day.

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

This is the Collect for this week, Proper 26.

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your gift that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Paul Hill