for Sunday, November 3, 2013
All Saints Sunday
lectionary focus: Psalm 149:1-9; Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31
prop: a hymnal that includes I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Find more history on this hymn here and an interesting survey results here.
Today I have another important book that we use in worship. This is our Hymnal. In here, we find the hymns, or songs, we sing as a congregation. Today we are singing one of these hymns that has been around for a long time and that is traditionally sung on this Sunday each year. The hymn is I Sing a Song of the Saints of God. Let me tell you the story of this hymn: Almost one hundred years ago, a woman named Mrs. Scott who lived in England wrote some songs for her young children to teach them about God. With this song, Mrs. Scott wanted her children to know that Saints are not just fancy people who have statues in churches; Saints are just regular folk like you and me. Eventually Mrs. Scott’s hymns were published in a little book and that book found its way to a man who lived in the United States; John Hopkins wrote a new tune for this hymn and it was added to the collection of hymns sung by many churches.
But back to the words…if Saints are just regular people, why are they called Saints? Saints are everyday sort of people who spend their lives doing good for God. Everything that a Saint does is for God. Whether they are being a preacher sharing the Good News, or a doctor helping the sick, or a waiter serving in a restaurant, or a gardener cutting the grass, Saints love God and share God’s love by doing what God has called them to do. This hymn reminds us that whatever we do, we, too, can be Saints.
So why do we sing this hymn on this day? Today is All Saints Sunday. Today we remember those people in our church family who died in the past year. We are sad that they have died, but we are blessed and rejoice that we knew them and received God’s love from them. We remember that they are Saints by all the good things they did. And we work to follow their example. I remember Miss Betty sharing her violin music and her stories of all the places she played. I remember Buddy helping fix things around the church…and at anybody’s house who had something broken! I remember Mr. Mike; he was so nice and sweet and friendly yet somehow he was the best King Herod we ever had in the Christmas pageant! I remember Cookie always ready for a game of catch whenever you guys showed up with a ball.
Our hymnal has many songs in it. And at one time, some people thought I Sing a Song of the Saints of God was too common and being a ‘children’s hymn’ not appropriate for our Hymnal…but fortunately, other people knew that is the point! We are ALL blessed children of God…and as His children, we, too can be Saints today, tomorrow, every day.
So listen today as We Sing A Song of the Saints of God, and hear how Saints are just regular folk who love God and love to share God’s love. Listen how there were Saints long ago but there are Saints today…you can meet them in school, in shops, any where!
Will you say a prayer with me? (This is an echo prayer: the leader says a line and the children repeat it.)
Today we sing a song of Your Saints.
We are thankful
for the Saints we have known.
Please help me
to be a Saint too.
We are not Christians (or Saints) alone.
My mission is to share, inspire, and encourage.