Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo Begins!

Technically this should be a "Sloppy Saturday" post, but since November first is All Saints' Day, I'm going to talk about that instead. If you don't come from a liturgical church background, you may not realize that there's a day set aside to honor all those who have gone before us in faith. But it's been around a long time, and last night you probably handed out treats in celebration of its vigil (definition 1b in the link.) Last night was Hallowe'en, and yes, the apostrophe belongs in there. Hallowe'en = halloweven = All Hallows' Eve = All Saints' Eve -- the night before All Saints' Day. I won't get into a discussion of how our current Hallowe'en customs were derived, because I want to talk about my favorite part of All Saints' Day, the hymn For All the Saints. The link is to CyberHymnal, and be warned, it starts to play the MIDI rather loudly if you click on it.

For all the saints, who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of glory passes on His way.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

I first heard/sang this in HS choir, I think my sophomore year. We had only five verses (1,2, 4, 5, 8 above), but there was a glorious soprano descant in the arrangement, and it captured my imagination -- the countless host singing "Alleluia"!
I wanted to be part of that!

The next time I heard it, I had tears streaming down my face. "Bill", two years older than I, the pianist for the above HS choir, had been killed in a freak auto accident. His grieving parents, yet in "sure and certain hope of the resurrection", chose this as the final hymn for his funeral service.

I have heard and sung it a lot since then. I learned more verses (the eight above I have memorized), and sang it often as part of the "Mom sings a lot of songs and hopes that these kids will settle down and go to sleep" phase of my life. I just discovered while writing this that CyberHymnal has three more verses that I don't know. Lovely! But my goal is still the same as it was in HS (41 years ago!) -- be part of that streaming, praising throng. Alleluia!

1 comment:

Jen said...

That is such a beautiful song!