November 2, 2021- All Saint’s Sunday

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And when the saints go marching in…I want to be one of them

If you’ve ever been in a Bible study with me, you’re likely aware of my fondness for recording artist, Sara Groves. This week, her take on “When the Saints” has been playing on repeat in my head. In her resonant fashion, she gives voice to the trials of life that threaten to overwhelm. It is at these moments, she sings, that the lives of the saints come to mind: Paul and Silas in the prison yard; Harriet and the long, quiet walk along the Underground Railroad; Calcutta sisters at a dying man’s side. 

And then, after recounting examples of what we might consider improbable courage in the face of life’s worst, she sings in a somewhat familiar melody: “when the saints go marching in, I want to be one of them.”

Indeed, our desire to be among the “sainted” ones, those remembered for their faithfulness, compassion, and integrity, is often strong. At the same time, we often look with a less envying eye on the struggles they faced in their day. How many of us have looked back on the life of a parent, grandparent, or great-grandparent and wondered how they made ends meet, or came to make it in a new town or country? Their particular struggles may be less familiar, leading us to conclude that we couldn’t have done what they’d done.

Well, guess what? We struggle, too, and not in small ways. I imagine that future generations will look back on the moment we’re living in and wonder at us. And so we are invited, as Sara Groves does, to draw power for present trials from the lives of saints who went before, even if under quite different circumstances. As we celebrate All Saints Day this weekend, I pray that our worship will do just that: uniting saints above and saints below for a number we want to be a part of. 

We are blessed to be led in worship this week by some of our youngest living saints: Middle Schoolers who went through the God Meets World education series last month. You’ll find them both in front of the church and behind the scenes, in-person and recording pieces for remote participation. If it is hard to draw strength from those who have gone before, let us then find it among those who are coming after. They, too, have struggled, and are yet so bold as to lead us in prayer, song, and praise.

And when the saints go marching in…I want to be one of them

Pastor Jen