Support the Café
Search our site

Not Apart from Us

Not Apart from Us

Friday, November 1, 2013 – Feast of All Saints

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 111 (morning) // 112 (evening)

2 Esdras 2:42-47

Hebrews 11:32-12:2

Our second reading today opens with a list of heroes and their respective heroic deeds. The catalogue of the heroically faithful includes Gideon, Samson, David, and the prophets. Many of them did amazing things. Others of them suffered tremendously. But then Paul seems to undercut all of their achievements by announcing that none of them received “what was promised.” They did a commendable job, but they didn’t receive the greatest reward.

Why not? Because the fulfillment of their efforts and their hope could not possibly arrive in one lifetime. Paul explains that God withheld what was promised “so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.” In other words, they didn’t earn individual rewards; they had to wait for and share with the generations who came after them.

The saints cannot fulfill their mission or receive their reward without us. Our connection to them and to their courage and compassion in all times and places is the true source of their perfection. Ultimately, these saints form not a list of individuals, but an undifferentiated cloud that hovers around us and holds us in the reign of God.

The twelfth-century Cistercian abbot, Bernard of Clairvaux, warns us about overlooking the eager desire of all the saints for us to join them: “The Church of all the first followers of Christ awaits us, but we do nothing about it. The saints want us to be with them, and we are indifferent. The souls of the just await us, and we ignore them.” Sometimes, the saints’ seemingly unattainable heroism or simply the intervening centuries keep us at a distance.

But today, let’s try to feel the desire that all saints have for us to share their company and fulfill their desires for God’s reign on earth. That is their reward. Surely they died trusting that, in Christ, they would never be apart from us.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as curate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and as director of the Ark Fellows, an Episcopal Service Corps program sponsored by St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Dislike (0)
Facebooktwitterpinterestlinkedinmail

Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Facebooktwitterrss
Support the Café
Past Posts
2020_001

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café