Collect for the Feast of All Saint—Almighty and everlasting God, You knit together Your faithful people of all times and places into one holy communion, the mystical body of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant us so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that, together with them, we may come to the unspeakable joys You have prepared for those who love You; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Feast of All Saints has been celebrated as such since the ninth century, but its roots are even earlier, in a festival in honor of All Martyrs celebrated in Syria in the mid-fourth century, and in the rededication of the Pantheon in Rome. The Pantheon was originally dedicated as a pagan temple in 27 b.c. to the gods of the seven known planets; it was re-dedicated by Boniface IV in a.d. 610 as a Christian basilica in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary and all martyrs.
The Feast of All Saints, therefore, recalls the memories of the faithful departed and the triumph of Christ over all false gods. Being thus a Christological feast, the color of the paraments is white.
After the Reformation, Lutherans continued to observe All Saints’ Day, while rejecting the additional Feast of All Souls the following day because of its unscriptural underpinnings in commemorating the souls in Purgatory who were not yet saints.
Monday, 26 October 2009—Psalm 31:1, 3, 5; Antiphon, Rev 7:14b—The antiphon is the description of a portion of the vision which the Holy Apostle and Evangelist John received from our Lord Jesus. In it, he sees those saints who have received the beatific vision of God by virtue of their having been baptized, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, that is, Jesus Christ our Savior. This is the blessed existence that awaits all the elect, for which we yearn even while we groan in this vale of tears.
Tuesday, 27 October 2009—Psalm 149—A psalm of high praise unto the Lord to be offered up in the assembly of the godly. He has taken pleasure in his people and adorned the humble with salvation. For this, we His saints do not cease to give Him the glory and praise due His name.
Wednesday, 28 October 2009—Revelation 7:9–17—This is the vision whence the antiphon for the Introit is drawn. These are the saints who never cease praising God and the Lamb for the salvation which has been accomplished by the Lamb of God having shed His blood for the remission of all our sins and for our salvation. In the Lord’s Supper, we join with those saints who have gone before, with palm branches in their hands, in singing the Sanctus: ‘Holy Holy, Holy…Blessed is he who cometh in the name of the Lord!’ With those saints, we also partake of the marriage feast of the Lamb which has no end.
Thursday, 29 October 2009—1 John 3:1–3—What an amazing thing it is to be able to pray the Lord’s Prayer, where we address the Holy and Almighty God as Our Father! This we can do because we are the children of God, as St John tells us in the Epistle reading for Sunday. We are His children because, being baptized into Christ, we are Christ’s, and heirs with Him. By the redemption we have by the blood of Jesus, God has made us His children.
Friday, 30 October 2009—Matthew 5:1–12—The Beatitudes are not some new kind of Law given by a new Lawgiver, Jesus. Rather, they are a description of those who are in Christ. The Beatitudes describe both who Jesus is and what He gives to all who, by faith, have been incorporated into Him. You, dearly baptized, are blessed: the Kingdom of Heaven is yours, you shall see God, you are called sons of God, for you belong to Christ.
Saturday, 31 October 2009—Sunday’s hymn of the day, For All the Saints (LSB 677) is a song of high praise, not to the saints, but by us saints, for the grace of God shown to the saints who have gone before. As they now enjoy eternity with their Lord and Redeemer, so we, too, look forward to that more glorious day, when saints triumphant rise in bright array, and sing Alleluias to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
This week's Time in the Word was written by Pr. Jeff Keuning who serves St. John Dexter and Zion Casey, IA