Photo: (c) iStock.com / Olgaorly (#497533220)Sunday, November 5 is All Saints Sunday, a day set aside in many denominations to celebrate and give thanks for the ones who have gone before us, the ones whose lives lit up at least our corner of the world. People whose joy, courage, commitment, love and generosity continue to sustain our spirits.
As I sit writing this, the view out my office window is bright with beauty -- gold autumn leaves against a serene blue sky.
As sit writing this, one of the victims of the shooting in Las Vegas is receiving death threats and my twitter feed is lighting up with news of a deadly attack in lower Manhattan.
As I sit writing this, the preschool children are gathering in the hallway and the whole building is resounding with their singing, Halloween excitement, and laughter.
As I sit writing this millions of people in Puerto Rico are STILL without power seven weeks after the hurricane and tensions between the United States and North Korea continue to escalate.
My heart is filled with gratitude and high hopes. My heart is dismayed.
As we head into the season of days closing in, and family gathering around for feasting and gratitude, where we lose the light of the sun and long for the light of Christ, it is good to remember that we are not alone.
The first All Saints Sunday lectionary reading offers us a vision of a great multitude gathered around God’s throne; a multitude too great to be counted, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages. The saints I look to include luminaries whose names everyone knows: Bonhoeffer and Hildegard, Julian and Martin Luther King, Oscar Romero and Dorothy Day.  
But also, my college track coach, my beloved Uncle Emil and Aunt Jeanne, Episcopal priest and college chaplain Father Staples, and my great, good friend Joe.  All of them have gone ahead into the great mystery of God’s love.   Each one blessed my life by the way they lived, by the way they loved.
And now, with the insider’s view of one lucky enough to serve a church, I see that there are saints and angels all around us all the time, unheralded, working often without public recognition.  Loving the world, loving each other, illuminating the way for each other in dark times.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and fear that 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..."

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