November 1 is All Saints Day. Here are quotes, recommended resources, and a teaching story for your observances.
A TEACHING STORY ABOUT SAINTS
The 1984 movie Places in the Heart is set in the Depression. Recently widowed Edna (Sally Field) is trying to support her two young children and pay her mortgage by growing cotton on a small farm. She has two helpers, a black itinerant worker (Danny Glover) and a blind boarder (John Malkovich). Together they weather a sea of troubles, including a disastrous tornado, that teach them the meaning of friendship and family.
The closing scene in the film takes place in a church. As the camera slowly pans the congregation receiving communion, we recognize all the characters — those living and dead and departed for other places. This is a beautiful image of the communion of saints.
In God in the Moment: Making Every Day a Prayer, Kathy Coffey comments on a similar image:
“Geddes MacGregor in The Rhythm of God tells of a priest who, when asked, ‘How many people were at the early celebration of the Eucharist last Wednesday morning?’ replied, ‘There were three old ladies, the janitor, several thousand archangels, a large number of seraphim, and several million of the triumphant saints of God.’ Such a ‘cloud of witnesses’ answers a deep human urge to be part of something larger, to not stand alone, to give our little lives meaning. One drop of water, left alone, evaporates quickly. But one drop of water in the immense sea endures.”
To Practice: On All Saints Day, during worship, prayer, or meditation, acknowledge all the saints that are present with you.