All Saints Sunday
Greetings on this glorious day! I am very excited about our celebration of All Saints this Sunday. All Saints is a major feast day in the Episcopal Church and one of four days appointed for Holy Baptism.
All Saints reminds us that our life in Christ is for eternity and that eternity begins now. We think about beginnings and endings and the circle of life. We come from God, we return to God, and God is with us always. As an expression of this Alpha and Omega reality, we will baptize one child at the 8:00 service and five at the 10:30 service. At the 4:00 Evensong, we will give thanks for the lives of those who have died during the past year in the context of this sung service that is such a beautiful part of our Anglican tradition.
On All Saints, we focus on the communion of saints, the connection that we still have with the faithful of ages past. We remember the "big S" Saints who have made a big impact on Christian thought and practice and we remember the "little s" saints, the people who have made a big impact on our individual faith journeys.
Someone who has had a major impact on my faith journey this week is Dr. Jeffrey Cohen, the President of Allegheny General Hospital, the hospital where Robert Bowers was treated, the gunman who killed 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue last Saturday. Dr. Cohen, along with the attending nurse and physician in the emergency room, are all Jewish. They treated Robert Bowers just as they would treat anyone else. Dr Cohen went to check on him later to introduce himself and ask whether he was in pain. Asked by a reporter how he could possibly do this, he said "I thought it was important to at least talk to him and meet him. He later said that he was inspired by the grace that the congregation of Mother Emanuel in Charleston showed in forgiving Dylann Roof after he killed their loved ones.
We need other people to show us what a godly life looks like. I am deeply grateful for Dr. Cohen's profound example this week.
I look forward to Sunday and I leave you with the Collect for All Saints.
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.