All Saints Day 2012 November 1st

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 “God creates out of nothing.
Wonderful you say.
Yes, to be sure,
but God does what is
still more wonderful..
God makes saints
out of sinners.” 
Søren Kierkegaard
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A short song naming over a hundred saints, sung to the tune of a popular Gilbert and Sullivan song (also known as 'The Element Song by Tom Lehrer).  Phew !!

It is the Feast of All Saints and tomorrow All Souls when we celebrate the past and the promise of new life to come. 
“See, I am making all things new.”

 From The Book of Revelation 21: 1-6

 "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life.

‘See, I am making all things new.’ At this very moment, God is at work making all things new. God is revealing, moving, changing in relation to all of us involved in all the struggling pain and the mess.

In countless ways I cannot see, but nevertheless are happening, as I see through the eyes of faith the assurance of things hoped for.

It's good to know we are surrounded by "a great cloud of witnesses"

  The “great cloud of witnesses” is part of a quotation from Hebrews 12:1-2 -  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

It’s a powerful thought, one that many Christians down through the ages (myself included) have been comforted and encouraged by.

This is a great article from America magazine on The Great Cloud of Witnesses

and another here.

Hymn : For All the Saints with lyrics.

This video is a Litany of Saints, ( at a more sedate pace than the first one), sung by Matt Maher. It is a lovely hymn that features some beautiful icons .

This is the text accompanying the video from the You Tube site.
"Icons are reminders of the spiritual world. They are windows into eternity; a holy space depicting sacred reality in the course of humanity.

Iconography is the Bible in Art and theology in colour. The bible and iconography along with prayer of the heart are the gates into the mystery of Orthodox Christian spirituality. Icons serve as "windows into heaven" depicting our Christian history reflecting images of Christ, the Virgin Mary, the Apostles and other holy and heroic Christians of the past.

The icons found in Orthodox Churches are a celebration of the fact that Jesus Christ is indeed the Word made flesh (John 1:1-14). As the 7th Ecumenical Council held in Nicea in 787 proclaimed:

"Icons are in colours what the Scripture
are in words: witnesses to the Incarnation,
the fact that God has come among us
as a person whom we can see, touch
and hear, to offer us the new life
and begin the new creation."

The eyes in an icon are made large and animated because they have seen great things. The ears are also made large to hear the commands of the Lord. The nose is made long and thin, therefore it doesn't smell the things of this world only spiritual fragrances. The mouth is small, since there is less importance on physical food and drink (fasting), and more importance on spiritual food "the Word of God." The halo encircling the head of Christ or the saint depicts the radiant light of the their divinity.

Orthodox Christians do not worship icons, of course; worship is for God alone. But we do venerate them, believing that the honor given to the icon passes on to the person it images. Just as pictures of our loved ones in our wallets or homes remind us of real people and significant events, icons are the same reminder of those we honor and love. Icons image those who have loved God and sacrificed their lives for Him. They are sacred friends and events representing a world regenerated by divine grace. They are the saints who exemplify human potential at its finest.

Icons are a part of the Orthodox Christian worship and prayer, lifting the heart and mind into God's heavenly kingdom. Churches represent a celebration in colour and form of God's presence in His Church. Icons also revere a place of honour in our homes to which we direct our prayerful attention either as individuals or as families."

This video shows the sung Litany of Saints in Latin at the funeral of Pope John Paul II 

                       My earlier post this week on All Saints and All Souls is here.

                                          My post on All Saints Day 2010 is here

                                          My post for All Saints Day 2011 is here


and another lovely article for All Saints Day titled God's Glorious Nobodies 
Ron Rolheiser reflects on The Communion of Saints here
And finally a great version of The Saints Go Marching In from the Boss himself Bruce Springstein and other singers from The Seeger Sessions Band......

The trumpet playing on this is terrific.....

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