Tomorrow is All Saints Sunday. Many churches honor those who have died this year by lighting candles or perhaps ringing bells and reading names. The hymn “For All the Saints” was written in 1864 by Bishop William W. How in England for this Sunday. It is based on Hebrews 12:1, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,” Bishop How was known by “parishioners (who) called him by various popular titles including “the children’s bishop,” “the poor man’s bishop,” and “the omnibus bishop,” the latter designation for his frequent travel among the people of his parish.” The hymn reminds us that all Christians are saints who walk in the company of those who have gone before and those who walk beside us. We are a blessed people by our relationship with all of them.
The hymn was intended to be a commentary on the third article of the Apostles’ Creed when the congregation confesses that they believe “in the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins and the resurrection of the body.” The hymn was popular for All Saints Sunday but as Reformation and Halloween have become more prominent, this hymn’s familiarity has faded.
May you enjoy this more modern rendition of it! Blessings.