Happy All Saints Day! When the world is playing with ghosts and demons, let us instead remember and honor the millions of holy brothers and sisters that has went before us. As Shane Claiborne writes on facebook:
Over the centuries, Halloween has not been about glorifying death. It’s been more about respectfully remembering the dead and honoring that life is “hallowed” — holy.
Before there was “Halloween”, there was “All Hallows’ Eve” — and All Saints Day. For hundreds of years, before jack-o-lanterns and zombies and candy corn, Christians around the world have remembered the dead, the saints, the cloud of witnesses that have gone before us.
The “cloud of witnesses” refers to Hebrews 12:1, which after name-dropping several Old Testament saints who endured in faith even though they had not yet the Kingdom of God in all its glory yet, says:
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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)
All churches have saints – in Pentecostal and charismatic churches we call them apostles of faith or God’s generals – and it is good to be inspired by them to throw off our dirty sins and race like rabbits towards Jesus, who both founded and will fulfill our faith. Thus, purpose of saints are to fix our eyes on Jesus, so that we see His holiness and His amazing sacrifice, where he endured the cross during opposition from sinners.
I am inspired by so many saints – Stephen, Francis of Assisi, Heidi Baker and Brother Yun just to name a few – and I am currently trying to cover most of them in my upcoming book, Ancient Miraculous Jesus Hippies. Trevor Saxby in the Jesus Army in the UK has done the same on his blog Making History Now – having a PhD in Church History, he knows a lot about the saints that has went before us (he’s also the author of the excellent book Pilgrims of a Common Life that covers community of goods during the centuries). God bless the saints, and may we be inspired by them to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.