"Oh, blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine; Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine, Alleluia! Alleluia!
"And when the fight is fierce, the warfare long, Steals on the ear the distant triumph song, And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong. Alleluia! Alleluia!"
Today is All Saints' Day, the church festival on which we remember faithful believers who have entered into glory before us. They are the "blest communion, fellowship divine" who enjoy their rest in the presence of their Savior. We share in that blest communion because we too are saints, right here, right now. The apostle Paul addresses the Christians in Corinth with the designation shared by all who confess Jesus as Lord: "To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours" (1 Corinthians 1:2). We are not called saints because we deserve the title. We are saints—holy people, a people set apart—because God in His grace chose us and bestowed sainthood on us.
The saints in glory fought and served and struggled on earth and now they rest from their labors. We, the saints on earth, still "feebly struggle," while they "in glory shine." The fight is fierce for us as, in faith, we follow our Savior and endure temptation, illness, loss, pain, and persecution. Yet even for us the fight has already been won. The victory belongs to our Lord, described in the hymn as our "Captain in the well-fought fight." Our Savior suffered and died on the cross, the Captain who sacrificed Himself to save His troops. But on the first Easter morning, His empty tomb revealed that He had risen from the dead! Our Captain has conquered in the fight and through faith in Him, we too will rise from death!
When our earthly warfare is long, "the distant triumph song" steals on the ear. The triumph song echoes from the past to announce Jesus' redeeming death, His glorious resurrection and the hope and promise of eternal life for all who believe in Him. Resounding from the future, the song blends with the "cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God" that will announce the return of our conquering Lord (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16). On that great day, as the King of glory passes by, we, in the words of the hymn, will "triumphant rise in bright array." Raised up from death, we will join the saints in glory and so be forever with the Lord.
Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are saints, today and every day, God's holy people, set apart to serve and strive in His Name. However long or fierce the fight, our "hearts are brave again and arms are strong" because always ringing in our ears is that "distant triumph song."
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we give thanks to You for the saints who now rest in Your presence. Sustain us in our earthly fight until the day when we too stand before Your throne. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "For All the Saints," which is found on page 677 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Is it important to remember and honor believers who have died?
2. How are we one—or connected—with the saints who have died before us?
3. What's something you can do to honor Christians who have lived, served, and died?
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