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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

All Saints

"After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue."  Rev 7:9
Sometimes an image speaks much more loudly and clearly than words, and icons can do this very powerfully. So can poetry. The song that follows is a good example of this, and while it might shock some because of those it includes, when we read it with an open heart it forces us to think, pray and live in new ways. Chanted yearly at the Episcopal Church of St Stephen and the Incarnation in Washington, D.C., you can read it yourself at (All Saints Song)

Stand Here Beside Us!
Abraham and Sarah,
Isaac and Rebecca,
Jacob and Rachel and Leah,
makers of the covenant, forebears of our race:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Elizabeth and Simeon,
Joseph, Monica and Helen,
exemplars in the love and care of children:

Stand Here Beside Us!
John the baptizer, map-maker of the Lord's coming:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones who showed the good news to be the way of life:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Thomas the doubter;
Augustine of Canterbury;
Francis Xavier;
Samuel Joseph Schereschewsky;
all travelers who carried the Gospel to distant places:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Bernard and Dominic;
Catherine of Siena, the scourge of popes;
John and Charles Wesley, preachers in the streets;
all whose power of speaking gave life to the written word:


Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones who gave their lives to the care of others:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Louis, king of France;
Margaret, queen of Scotland;
Gandhi the mahatma, reproach to the churches;
Dag Hammarskjold the bureaucrat;
all who made governance an act of faith:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Peter of the keys, denier of the Lord;
Ambrose of Milan, who answered the Church's summons;
Hilda, abbess at Whitby;
Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, protector of the Jews;
Jean-Baptiste Vianney, cure d' Ars,
Patient hearer of catalogues of sins;
All faithful shepherds of the Master's flock:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary Magdalen, anointer of the Lord's feet;
Luke the physician;
Francis who kissed the leper;
Florence Nightingale;
Albert Schweitzer;
all who brought to the sick and suffering the hands of healing:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones who made the proclaiming of God's love a work of art:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Pierluigi da Palestrina;
John Merbecke;
Johann Sebastian Bach;
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart;
Benjamin Britten;
Duke Ellington;
all who sang the Creator's praises in the language of the soul:

Stand Here Beside Us!
David and the Psalmists;
Caedmon;
John Milton, sketcher of Paradise;
William Blake, builder of Jerusalem;
John Mason Neale, preserver of the past;
all poets of the celestial vision:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Zaccheus the tree-climber;
Brother Lawrence;
Therese of Lisieux, the little flower;
William of Glasshampton;
all cultivators of holy simplicity:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones haunted by the justice and mercy of God:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Amos of Tekoa, who held up the plumbline;
John Wycliffe, who brought the Scripture to the common folk;
John Hus and Menno Simons, generals in the Lamb's war;
Martin Luther, who could do no other;
George Fox, foe of steeple-houses;
all who kept the Church ever-reforming:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Paul the apostle, transfixed by noonday light;
Augustine of Hippo, God's city planner;
Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, architects of the divine;
Charles Williams, teacher of coinherence;
Karl Barth, knower of the unknowable;
all who saw God at work and wrote down what they saw:

Stand Here Beside Us!
John, the seer of Patmos;
Anthony of the desert;
Julian, the anchoress of Norwich;
Hildegarde, the sybil of the Rhine;
Meister Eckardt;
Bernadette of Lourdes;
all who were called to see the Master's face:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Joachim of Fiora, prophet of the new age;
Johnny Appleseed, mad planter of Eden;
Sojourner Truth, pilgrim of justice;
Benedict Joseph Labre, priest and panhandler;
all whose love for God was beyond containment:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Holy ones who died in witness to the Christ:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Stephen the deacon, the first martyr, stoned in Jerusalem:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Justin, Ignatius, and Polycarp, who refused the incense to Caesar:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Perpetua and Felicity, torn by beasts in the arena at Carthage:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, and Nicholas Ridley,
Burned in Oxford:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein, put to death at Auschwitz:

Stand Here Beside Us!
James Reeb, Jonathan Daniels, Michael Schwerner,
Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo, shot in the South:

Stand Here Beside Us!
Martin Luther King, shot in Memphis:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Janani Luwum, shot in Kampala:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Oscar Romero, shot in San Salvador:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Martyrs of Rome, of Lyons, of Japan, of Eastern Equatorial
Africa, of Uganda, of Melanesia,
martyrs of everywhere:

STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Holy ones of every time and place:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Glorious company of heaven:
Stand Here Beside Us!
All climbers of the ladder of Paradise:
Stand Here Beside Us!
All runners of the celestial race:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Great cloud of witnesses:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary most holy, chief of the saints:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary most holy, yes-sayer to God:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary most holy, unmarried mother:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Mary most holy, gate of heaven and ark of the covenant:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Jesus our liberator, creator of all:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Jesus our liberator, redeemer of all:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Jesus our liberator, sanctifier of all:
Stand Here Beside Us!
Jesus our liberator, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and
the end:
Stand Here Beside Us!



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