Have you ever noticed how often we sing the English hymn The Saints of God at funerals and memorial services? It’s a lovely, nostalgic old hymn, composed in the 20th century for All Saints Day but seemingly more at home in Victorian England. We love to sing it and many of us know all the verses by heart.
We also have an All Saints Banner, created by the St. Matthew’s banner committee 20 or so years ago. It is hung on All Saints Day and at the funeral and memorial services of our parishioners. On this banner there is a cross that extends diagonally across all three sections of the banner. Less obvious are the small figures quilted into the background. These are the saints of God.
If you approach the banner you see that the small figures are intertwined. They are symbolically knit together in Christ as we are reminded when we hear the Collect for All Saints Day in our Book of Common Prayer.*
As our modern society stresses the importance of the individual, our Episcopal Church continues to remind us that we are one in Christ, the Saints of God. We take Communion at our round altar rail, at our church in the round. We are a community. We may have different opinions but ultimately we are One Body, knit together in Christ.
As for the Saints of God, “I mean to be one too.”
*Thanks to my Reference Librarian, The Rev. Benjamin Hart.