On the first of November Christian churches around the world will be celebrating All Saints Day. There is a common misunderstanding that saints are people who are ‘too good to be true’, perfect! Maybe that is the case, but I very much doubt it. We know from the Bible that followers of Jesus, his disciples – were by no means perfect: they argued, they were scared, they ran away and hid, they faced times of challenge that felt too difficult.
Over the centuries and into the 21st century Saints have all been ‘ordinary’ people of faith who gave much so that others could live. Saint Teresa of Calcutta, who dedicated her life to enabling life for others in the slums of Calcutta. is a recent example of this. Saints bring the light of hope into the darkness of this world. During November daylight hours become shorter and shorter, rain clouds block the sunlight during the short daylight hours. There are times when we can feel engulfed by the darkness.
As we continue to battle with the risks and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, many people are struggling with the darkness of fear, isolation or bereavement. When we hold our All Souls service on Sunday 1 November, we will be remembering those who we continue to love and remember beyond their death. As we do so we will focus on the light of a candle. The flame will be small, but the light will break through the darkness as a symbol of love and hope.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. John 1,5 (NIV)