|All Saints - Durer|
In times past, and in many places still, there is a separate 'Commemoration of All Souls' one day later, on November 2nd. Thus, traditionally a distinction has been drawn between 'exceptional' Christians, and others of a more ordinary 'wayfaring' sort.
|All Souls Night -- Bradley Walker Tomlin (1947)|
St Paul, in a famous metaphor, describes the task of Christians as 'running the race set before us'. In the actual world of athletics, we don't expect everyone to be a winner, and we admire the exceptional accomplishments of a few. Perhaps we should preserve this aspect of Paul's metaphor. Saints, we are told, are those who have been 'the lights in their generations'. To describe everyone in this way unhelpfully disguises the fact that the vast majority of Christians who are trying to be faithful need a few such lights along the way.