Sunday Service for All Saints – 1st November 2020

With thanks to Revd Canon Alison Peden for providing us with this service to follow, for those unable to come to the service at At Mary’s this Sunday

All Saints  November 1st    2020

We remember, O God…
The countless saints of history

who have blazed a trail of courage through time.We remember, O God…
The tenderness of loved ones, the example of heroes,

the healing words of comforters, the remarkable acts of fearless ones.We remember, O God…
The gentle strength of grandparents, the loyalty of friends,

the kindness of strangers, the joy of children, the sacrifice of parents.We remember, O God…
The supreme love of Jesus, the blessing of his Spirit, the reminder of his words, the sharing of his suffering, the glory of his resurrection:

shown forth in the lives of his disciples, young and old,
dead and living, strange and familiar, brilliant and ordinary.We remember in every time and place the saints of God

who have shown us the Lord.
Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,

let us worship God with joy!

Gloria:   Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away
the sin of the world; have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father: receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father.  Amen

Collect:   Almighty God, your saints are one with you in the mystical body of Christ: give us grace to follow them in all virtue and holiness
until we come to those inexpressible joys which you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever.
Amen.

Reading:  Revelation 7:9-17
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshipped God, singing, ‘Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honour and power and might
be to our God for ever and ever! Amen.’
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, ‘Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?’ I said to him, ‘Sir, you are the one that knows.’ Then he said to me, ‘These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them,
nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’

Gospel:    Matthew 5:1-12    An all-age version of the Beatitudes
Blessed are the saints who trust God’s power and loving care,
for they are part of the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the saints when they are sad because the world is so unfair.   They have God’s promise that justice will come.
Blessed are the nobodies who know they are nobodies and still do God’s work.   In God’s world they are the leaders.
Blessed are the saints whose greatest wish is to do what God desires.
God will give them what they want.
Blessed are the saints who treat other people gently,
God will treat them gently.
Blessed are the saints who get in trouble when they do what God requires, for they are surely among God’s saints.

Reflection:   St Modoc’s has been sharing stories of unsung saints who have inspired us. Saints are not just those officially canonised by the Church, with their holiness and remarkable deeds; they are also those who let a little of the light of Christ shine through their lives and show what God hopes human beings can be like, in their great diversity.

One striking memory is of interviewing Mother Teresa of Calcutta when she was virtually unknown.  ‘Tiny, determined … she struck me as a powerful, driven woman’.  She had the saintly quality of self-forgetfulness, refusing to answer questions about herself, demanding instead:  ‘Ask me about the work!’

Another person described ‘would be horrified to be included in any list’ of unsung saints.  A dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, she inspires through her ‘gentleness, firmness, uprightness and unfailing interest in, and support for, other people’.

We can be helped and uplifted by creative souls who enlarge our vision.  Someone remembers acting in a play about St Cuthman by Christopher Fry, a Quaker playwright better known for ‘The lady’s not for burning’, who tried to convey spiritual truth.  In exquisite poetry, he depicts Cuthman trying to build a church and encountering Christ:
             But gradually I was aware of some one in

                 The doorway and turned my eyes that way and saw

                 Carved out of the sunlight a man who stood 

                 Watching me. So still that there was not

                 Other such stillness anywhere on the earth.
                 So still that the air seemed to leap / At his side …
                 I cried out, and I cried at last ‘Who are you?’
                 I heard him say ‘I was a carpenter’ …

Finally, saints can be found amongst those not obviously ‘religious’.  Arthur Collyer – remembered as a great-uncle – confronted government plans to move the Masai from their lands where he was a District Commissioner in Kenya in 1908.  He was young, dying from TB but passionately committed to protecting the interests of his fellow human beings.  “I often think what it must have been like: young, alone in the wilds of Africa, dying, bitter about injustice and worried about the Masai people.”  As Jesus said, ‘Inasmuch as you did it to the least of my brethren, you did it unto me’.  Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Prayers:  

For all the saints who went before us, who have spoken to our hearts and touched us with your fire, we praise you, O God.  May we all hear their wisdom and inspiration and become a better place for all.
Lord graciously hear us.

For all the saints who live beside us, whose weaknesses and strengths are woven with our own, we praise you, O God.  May we listen, love and care, building a community that you will rejoice in.
Lord graciously hear us.

For all the saints who live beyond us, who challenge us to change the world with them, we praise you, O God. May their sacrifices bear fruit in the renewal of your world in justice, peace and righteousness.
Lord graciously hear us.

Holy God, join our prayers with those of the saints in eternal light, for the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

The Great Thanksgiving
Let us lift up our hearts and give thanks to the Lord our God,
for it is right to give our thanks and praise.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord;
Hosanna in the highest!

Worship and praise belong to you, Father, in every place and at all times.  All power is yours. You created the heavens and established
the earth; you sustain in being all that is.
In Christ your Son our life and yours are brought together in a wonderful exchange. He made his home among us that we might
for ever dwell in you. Through your Holy Spirit you call us to new birth
in a creation restored by love.

As children of your redeeming purpose we offer you our praise,
with angels and archangels and the whole company of heaven,
singing the hymn of your unending glory:
Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.      
Hosanna in the highest.

Glory and thanksgiving be to you, most loving Father, for the gift of your Son born in human flesh. He is the Word existing beyond time, both source and final purpose, bringing to wholeness all that is made.
Obedient to your will he died upon the Cross. By your power
you raised him from the dead. He broke the bonds of evil and
set your people free to be his Body in the world.
On the night when he was given up to death, knowing that his hour had come, having loved his own, he loved them to the end. At supper with his disciples he took bread and offered you thanks. He broke the bread, and gave it to them, saying: “Take, eat. This is my Body: it is broken for you.” After supper, he took the cup, he offered you thanks, and gave it to them saying: “Drink this, all of you. This is my Blood of the new covenant; it is poured out for you, and for all, that sins may be forgiven. Do this in remembrance of me.” We now obey your Son’s command. We recall his blessed Passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension; and we look for the coming of his Kingdom. Made one with him, we offer you ourselves, a single, holy, living sacrifice. Hear us, most merciful Father, and send your Holy Spirit upon us that, overshadowed by his life-giving power, we may be kindled with the fire of your love and renewed for the service of your Kingdom.
Help us, who are baptised into the fellowship of Christ’s Body to live and work to your praise and glory; may we grow together in unity and love until at last, in your new creation, we enter into our heritage in the company of the Virgin Mary, the apostles and prophets, and of all our brothers and sisters living and departed.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, with whom, and in whom, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all honour and glory be to you, Lord of all ages,
world without end. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer:   Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever.   Amen.

The Communion:   draw close to Christ in spirit and thanksgiving,
and be nourished by his presence with you and within you. 

Closing prayer:    Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses, each of whom lived a life of faith in God, let us lay aside every weight that slows us down, and let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus Christ, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. And may the peace of God, the love of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit, be among us and within us always. Amen

For all the saints …’ was written by William Walsham How, known as ‘The poor man’s bishop’ and ‘the children’s bishop’ for his work amongst the destitute in London and Yorkshire and his interest in children.
Perhaps another uncanonised saint? The RSCM youth choir sings it at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOC0Mb–FWY 

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,
who thee by faith before the world confessed,
thy Name, O Jesu, be forever blessed.  
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
we feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. 
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
and singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!
Alleluia, Alleluia!