Saints: the holy ones.  the old word “hallowed” gives us All Hallows Eve (or Halloween), a once new name for an old, old festival that marks the turning of the year toward winter, the diminished days.  Astrologers say that “the veil between the worlds” is thinner at this time, and so people think of their dead.  The early church wisely added to this pattern rather than combatting it.

We sing “For all the saints who from their labors rest . . . .”  Who are these saints?  Traditional theology would say it is all those who died in the faith, having been made holy by their baptism.  But if we are created by a loving God, we are already holy in our making.  And if you don’t believe in a god, don’t you think that all sentient beings deserve respect – and especially those of our own species?

Empathy and concern for the common good seem to be hard to learn in our individualistic society.  One could claim that an interest in the good of the whole is a characteristic for survival from earlier times which is no longer needed.  That is a limited view.  I wish that the barriers between us, the living, might also become thinner, so that we might more easily talk across our differences to discern what is best for all.