For All the Saints - Jim Holmes

Dear Friends,

         I am of two minds about this week’s meditation. Should it be about All Saints’ Day--one of the great feasts of the Church Year--or should it be about voting? So let me do a little about one, and a little more about the other.

         It is dismaying to read the statistics about voter turnout, particularly in midterm elections. Some people do not vote because they think it does not matter. They are wrong. Some do not vote because they are prevented from voting by one or another of the voter suppression efforts about which we read. That is unjust and un-American. Those for whom we vote should pledge themselves to address such disparity. Some do not vote because election day is a work day. Only a minority of businesses give people time off to vote. We should consider making election day a holiday, or moving the election to weekends as a number of states already do.

         Most of us at Emmanuel have access to the polls, either early or on election day. Though I cannot suggest to you how to vote (I wish I could!), I urge each of you to vote. It is important and is one of the ways we can move forward to heal a deeply divided country.

         All Saints’ is the great festival of connectedness. Through the love of God we are connected with all those who have gone before, the great cloud of witnesses. Not all were heroes or heroines, not all were Christians or even religious at all--most were people we have never heard of. Because death is not the last word, and because all are children of God, created in God’s likeness and image, we are in communion with them, known or unknown, admired or despised. We are connected with Matthew Shepard, with the eleven people murdered at the Tree of Life Synagogue, with the two people murdered in Kentucky, with the five people killed in Baltimore last weekend. “For all are one in Thee, for all are Thine. Alleluia.”

         But the connection is not only with those who have gone before, it is with all of humanity who are alive now. It is with those who are a part of the devastated congregation in Pittsburgh, with those families grieving the senseless shootings in Baltimore, with those living in the terror of Yemen or Syria or Central America or any of a hundred other places, with those of our own parish household who are ill or shut-in, with those who sit next to us in the pews Sunday after Sunday. 

         With connectedness comes responsibility. As saints, the people of God, we are called to make the world a better, safer, more just place for all of our sisters and brothers. We do that by praying, by voting, by giving, by hands-on efforts. We do it because we know that we are loved by God and are called to love our neighbors and even our enemies.

         See you in church this Sunday as we celebrate All Saints’. See you at the polls on Tuesday if not before.

-Jim Holmes