Saturday, 29 October 2016

‘All Saints’ – can I be one of them?

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number … crying with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God' …  (Revelation 7: 9,10)

When All Saints Day arrives in the Christian calendar, that supposed company seems like a holy race apart.  Could I ever aspire to be among such ‘saints’?

Come with me to the very gates of heaven.  They’re so high, you can’t see over them – but we can hear the singing!  Why, they seem to be singing that great song of worship, composed by Augustine for his baptism  – when he was a new convert to the Faith, many centuries ago!  “We praise thee O God, we acknowledge thee to be the Lord!”    

So remarkable are its words of ringing Christian testimony, that it found a place in the old English Prayer Book.  When you hear it on YouTube – sung by the choir of Trinity College Cambridge as Stanford’s Te Deum in B Flat, why - it’s enough to give you goose pimples….

But now – as I hear it from over the walls of heaven – the music is incredible!

“Who IS that, singing in there?” I ask.  By way of reply, a phrase from the Te Deum comes drifting over the wall. ‘The glorious company of the Apostles praise thee!’  At that point I go pale.  Apostles, eh? I’m hardly in that category!

Another burst of heavenly music.  Unbelievable singing!  “And who is THAT?” I shout.  Over it comes: ‘The goodly fellowship of the prophets praise thee!’  My tummy does a somersault.  Oh  no – not the prophets; they’re among the Seven-Star Saints; this is terrible.  Poor, poor me!

Now the walls are literally vibrating with sound.  Tremblingly I ask, “Who’s singing now?”  Over the wall lobs the reply: “The noble army of martyrs praise thee!”    Martyrs…. well,  they’re the tops.  “Pam, get me out of this place; take me away for a cup of coffee!”

But just as I’m turning away, I hear a last phrase of the Te Deum.  Hey - what was that? – “Thou didst open the Kingdom - the Kingdom of heaven – to ALL believers!” 

Feel better?  I do!  I may not count myself as an advanced believer in Jesus Christ, but I AM a believer!  I too am among ‘All Saints’ after all!  I CAN sing Augustine’s testimony song!