All Saints’ Sunday
November 7, 2021
This year the first Sunday in November is back to what it was in pre-pandemic times. In the church it is All Saints’ Sunday and on the streets it is the running of the NYC Marathon. Although I have never attempted a marathon, I used to be a fairly devoted runner. Years ago a parishioner of the church I served in Cincinnati convinced me to run in a 5k road race with him. “No problem,” I thought. At the time I could do 3.1 miles without breaking a sweat. “I’ll sprint.” Just before the race began, Stacie and some other friends went over to the finish line to wait for what I fully expected would be my triumphant arrival. The gun went off, the race began, and all went well for about the first third of the course. Then the route turned sharply and what seemed permanently uphill. It was miserable. I forgot about finishing well and worried about finishing at all. I am pleased to report that I did finish. What kept me going through the worst moments? It was the knowledge that I had friends on the finish line waiting for me.
I have always thought it to be a happy coincidence that the marathon and our celebration of All Saints occur on the same day. Life is hard. Sometimes it seems to be one uphill climb after another. The message of All Saints’ Day is this: we have friends on the finish line waiting for us. Those who have gone before us – parents, grandparents, spouses, friends, and most of all the Lord Jesus himself – are even now cheering us onward. A Scripture verse from Hebrews (12:1) says it well: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.
See you in church. (Good news: turn your clocks back an hour on Saturday night and enjoy an extra hour of sleep.)