The first day of November is a special one in the Church Year. It is All Saints’ Day, a day to remember the communion of saints, that is all who have lived or are living the Christian faith in their day to day life. It is also the first day of the Suffering Church Action and Awareness Week, when we remember those who suffer today because they are following the Christian faith. The readings at the noon service in the cathedral on Epiphany Island were Psalm 34:1-10; Romans 12:9-21; Matthew 5:1-12. The sermon is given below.
Did you have a good Hallowe’en celebration yesterday? I think in the UK there was not much happening because of the various degrees of lockdown in different areas. I think it was the first year that we have had no one knocking on our door. Although it’s not a celebration I am very keen on, the quietness was yet another reminder that this year is not like others in many ways. Young people knocking on the door would have been the old normal, not the new normal everyone seems to talk about.
Yet, the Church Year rolls on just as it has done for centuries. All Hallows’ Eve is followed by the festival of All Hallows or All Saints, and here we are, celebrating as the Church has done since the 4th Century. At first the day was used to remember the many Christians who had been martyred for their faith. Now it is used to remind us of the communion of saints which is made of two parts, unless you are a Roman Catholic when there are three parts. The Church Triumphant is the great gathering of people who have lived their lives as Christians and now enjoy safety and happiness in God’s presence. Those of us who are living the Christian life now on earth are the Church Militant; we are still involved in fighting the good fight of faith, as Paul urged Timothy in his first letter.