And a blessed Feast of All Saints and following octave thereof to all of you out there in readerland.
One of our autumn traditions around here is taking a walk on All Saints Day or thereabouts, preferrably kicking through the leaves on the sidewalk, and singing "For All the Saints" at the top of our lungs. I have this silly telling-stories-to-yourself fantasy: Imagine some elderly man who used to be part of the Anglican church in England when it was a lot better than it's gotten since and is living out an embittered retirement, for whatever reasons, in the U.S. Sitting in his quiet, lonely house one beautiful autumn day, he hears young voices outside the window singing a song he recognizes. He can scarcely believe his ears. He sticks his head out the window...Anyway, like that. Where we encourage someone. But so far we're just encouraging ourselves, which is good, too.
I love the hymn, but I haven't the energy to type out the many verses of the words. So here's the cyberhymnal link. This is the best cyberhymnal link I've heard yet--they really let you hear that great continuo written by Vaughan Williams. I'd never seen the third through fifth verses given here. Golly! That would be even longer than it is now.
Perhaps my favorite line in the hymn is "thou in the darkness drear their one true light." I always think of the persecuted Church when I sing that. This year the person I especially think of is Helen Berhane, beaten to the point of being crippled and imprisoned in a shipping container in Eritrea for two years in an attempt to get her to forsake her faith. She had plenty of "darkness drear," and in it He was her one light. She has finally found asylum in Sweden.
Here is the collect and proper preface for the day.