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.
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: