None of us can claim our “own strength” as the sole reason for our accomplishments. We all stand on the accomplishments of people who came before us. We stand on their struggles, their determination, their refusal to quit — their power to keep going. We stand on their ability to see a future that was bigger than them — one that included us.
We don’t stand by ourselves.
We magnify the faith of our forebears with our own faith and strength. Indeed, we add to theirs — and we create momentum, power, health and strength for the next generation.
Likewise, it is really critical that we who are living now own the charge to be “faithful, true and bold – fight as the saints who nobly fought of old…” — because if we don’t, we won’t leave the next generation a worthy legacy. Every time I see people re-embracing the chains of slavery, the marks of limited personhood, the values of oppressors, I think — “No. That’s not the fruit of the battle fought by our mothers and fathers. That’s not why they sacrificed, died…” That heartache pushes me to lift a broader, bigger, more liberating vision for my community. We all need to stretch — not just for ourselves, but because there are little ones watching us, coming after us….
Even those of us who have had to conquer strongholds of pathologies that were passed on to us (with the blessings!) have to determine — that part of the “tradition” stops with me. I will pass on power, strength, faith and health. No passing on unnecessary brokenness, trauma and smallness. I will not be sharing pain and destruction with my children. We don’t “pledge” the next generation! Take whatever of this that was dropped in your lap and determine that you are bigger than whatever it is. Give it to God and turn that into testimony to fuel the next generation.
That is the way we become SAINTS.
Happy All Saint’s Day.
1. For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest. Alleluia, Alleluia!
2. Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might;
thou Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
thou in the darkness drear, their one true light. Alleluia, Alleluia!
3. O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
and win with them the victor’s crown of gold. Alleluia, Alleluia!
4. O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia, Alleluia!
5. And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
and hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia, Alleluia!
6. From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: Alleluia, Alleluia!