All Saints Day was one of John Wesley’s favorite holy days. Charles Wesley expressed in hymn: Let saints on earth unite to sing with those to glory gone, for all the servants of our King in earth and heaven are one (Come, Let Us Join Our Friends Above). These words capture a moment where my own faith became infinitely real. I was 22 and only a year out of college when I learned that my friend Pam had died from complications due to her cancer. She was a year younger than me, and I didn’t realize she was as sick as she was. My wife and I were asked to lead worship at her funeral, and before the service, we looked out to see hundreds of people there, with her parents and brother on the front row. I told my wife I didn’t think I could do it, didn’t think I could stand in front of all those people and sing from the book of Job, “You give and take away, my heart will choose to say: Blessed be your name.” But my wife said to me, “Pam is singing with us, but she actually gets to see the One we’re singing to face to face.” All Saints Day is the reminder that those who have modeled the faith for us, who have proven to us that this Christian thing can be done by real people, are calling us to faithful and holy living even as they are enjoying the full presence of Christ.
This week’s comic may be lost on most people. Boondock Saints was probably my favorite movie right around the time Pam died. It has a hilarious, ridiculously violent, and incredibly troubling plot of two Irish Catholic brothers who decide to take God’s judgment into their own hands and capitally punish mafiosos who had previously gotten off on technicalities. Given all the use of violence and religion out there, I’d say that plot just gets more troubling and more anti-saint the older I get!
P.S. St. Anne is the grandmother of Jesus, for all of you non-Catholics out there. If you don’t know what BVM or cosplay is, Google is your friend, and you will think this is a very lame comic strip. Have a blessed week celebrating the saints!