Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Saints Day

So...did you have a good Hallowe'en? Did you know that the ghoulishly identified celebration actually has a Christian connection in some ways? The name itself is a shortening of the term "All Hallows Even," which would translate to "All Saints Evening." Take out the "all" and the "v", and you have the name we have today: "Hallowe'en" (That's why the apostrophe is there: because of the missing "v").

November 1 is All Saints Day. In the Catholic Church, there are days set aside for those in Christian history who have been chosen to be saints, or specially venerated people. Probably the best known would be St. Patrick, whose day is March 17.

Since there are only 365 days in the year, there would eventually come a time when the saints would outnumber the days. So November 1 was set aside as a day when all of the saints, including more minor and future saints, would be recognized.

In the Bible, the terms saints was used more to refer to Christians in general. That's how Kailua United Methodist Church uses the term. The Sunday which falls on or just after November 1 is called "All Saints Sunday," and we kind of use it as the Christian Memorial Day. We will have some special worship elements, including a slide show of those who have died since the last All Saints Day, or for those whose loved ones were not included in a previous year.

We will conclude with Holy Communion. A part of the celebration of this sacrament (a sacred sign of God's unconditional love; in the United Methodist Church, the two sacraments are baptism and communion) of the church is the recognition of the "communion of the saints." It is a belief that though death may part us with our loved ones, the eternal hope is that one day we will be reunited.

It's a comforting thought, and one of the big reasons I remain a Christian: the hope not only for eternal life for me, but the far more exciting prospect of being reunited with those whom I love, and to finally meet in person, God my Creator and God my savior in Jesus Christ.

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