For All the Saints – Maybe . . .

The Feast of St. James the Fisherman

The Very Rev. Tracey Lind

Chapel of St. James the Fisherman, Wellfleet, MA

July 30, 2023

When I was a schoolgirl, we had to go to daily morning chapel.  We lined up in the hallway by class and height where we were inspected for appropriate skirt lengths, clean blazers, and polished saddle shoes.  If any one of these items was not in order (especially the length of our skirts), we were sent home to re-dress and marked tardy for school.  Then, those who survived inspection processed into the chapel behind our class flags singing a variety of familiar hymns, our class favorite being, “For All the Saints.”

When it came time for graduation, our class selected this same hymn for the processional.  And so, on June 12, 1972, twenty-nine girls marched down the aisle of The First Presbyterian Church of Columbus, Ohio in long white dresses, carrying a dozen red roses, with tears in our eyes, singing at the top of our lungs:

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory in shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia.  Alleluia.

Whenever I sing this hymn (as we will do at the close of this morning’s worship), I think about my school days and laugh.  There we were, a bunch of kids singing about the saints.  We didn’t know anything about saints; we certainly didn’t think we were saints, much less did we behave like saints; and yet, we were drawn to sing about them.  We were what novelist Anne Tyler penned, “Saints Maybe.”  . . .