Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses . . .
I believe in the communion of saints
The Apostles’ Creed
As we come close to All Saints’ Sunday, this is one of the articles of our faith that I ponder. I understand that we have the great gift of resurrection life but what does it mean to be surrounded by a communion of believers (saints)? My questioning has led to a lot of reading, wondering, discerning, praying and thankfulness. So I thought I’d share some of those reflections with you.
First, the communion of saints says everything about God. God who created us in order to have a relationship with us will not let us go. God continues to literally enliven us and promises to draw us into a new creation. (Read Romans 8) What a joy!
And a communion of saints teaches me that I stand on the witness of all my predecessors in the faith. No one is self-made. Made in God’s image, by God, we are heirs of those who have shaped our lives, for good and bad, but also heirs to the witness of those whose lives were transformed by Jesus and who invited us to know the same Lord. One of the gifts of my superintendency is that I am living it out in an area where some folks who have shaped my life now receive me as a fellow worker. For some of them, that might be a stretch, but I’ve been received in love and grace. Thank you.
The communion of saints reminds me that I have role to play. Others look to me for support and grace, sometimes for direction. It can be challenging to live into that call but it is a blessing too. Hebrews’ author says that since we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses we are to run the race of life with perseverance, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. [12:1b-2]
The gift of being told that there is a communion of saints is ultimately like all of faith’s treasures: a gift to be celebrated, trusted and used.
This All Saints’ Day, I suspect that anyone reading this article will have saints to remember. As you remember that we are not separate from them in God’s grace, celebrate that you too are part of that communion. A communion that feasts on a distant shore, but a shore close enough so that we can hear their laughter.
Grace and peace,
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Hello from Harvey – The Communion of Saints
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