I want to be in that number

Jan and Hubert van Eyck, Adoration of the Lamb (detail), Ghent Altarpiece (1432).

In this time of exile from gathered community, the All Saints images of countless saints singing “around the throne in sweet accord” fill me with longing for the day when we will join our hearts and voices in person once again. Meanwhile, memory and hope (and Zoom) will have to do.

The van Eyck image of saints in procession reminds me of a 1965 photograph of 600 activists, led by 25-year-old John Lewis, marching across the Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama.

John Lewis and friends march through the valley of the shadow toward the land of promise (Selma, Alabama, March 7, 1965).

They would be met on the other side by state troopers, whose violence was so shockingly brutal that the day is remembered as “Bloody Sunday.” Those troopers are gone, John Lewis is gone, but God’s friends continue the march toward a better day. And all those saints and martyrs who have gone before—the “great cloud of witnesses—now cheer us on from above.

In this perilous historical moment, may we too keep on keeping on, keep marching in the light of God, encouraged by the many saints who have shown us how.

Further posts for All Saints Day:

For All the Saints

Applauding the Saints

2 thoughts on “I want to be in that number

  1. I would love to have a list of the saints you show in the video. I caught Francis, Bonhoeffer, Theresa, John Lewis, Martin Luther, Martin Luther King, Thomas Merton – but I would like to honor the entire roster.

    Blessings, Nancy Valaas

    • Nancy, I have put a list of the saints in the YouTube description of the video. In my post, click on the video, then run the cursor over the bottom right of the video to click on “YouTube,” which takes you to the YouTube page with the video and description. Click “More” in the description and the list will appear. Enjoy.

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