Thinking Out Loud

October 30, 2010

For All The Saints

So it’s Saturday and you’re a worship leader surfing the net for some good worship songs for Sunday — nothing like the last minute  — and then you discover tomorrow is All Saints Day.   No, not All Saints Sunday, it’s actually the day!

You see if you’re in a denomination that does the liturgical calendar at all — and in many churches it will just be another worship set of Hillsong and Chris Tomlin songs — you should know that when All Saints Day (November 1st) falls on a Saturday or a Monday, the day itself moves to the Sunday in all its solemnity. Holy days of obligation, Batman!

Just don’t tell me later that your church based its worship song selection on Halloween.  American megachurches: this means you.

So for all the worship leaders, here’s all the verses to All Saints Day’s one and only standard hymn.   And I am counting on you to sing all eleven verses.   Standing.

For All The Saints Hymn

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!

For the Apostles’ glorious company,
Who bearing forth the Cross o’er land and sea,
Shook all the mighty world, we sing to Thee:
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For the Evangelists, by whose blest word,
Like fourfold streams, the garden of the Lord,
Is fair and fruitful, be Thy Name adored.
Alleluia, Alleluia!

For Martyrs, who with rapture kindled eye,
Saw the bright crown descending from the sky,
And seeing, grasped it, Thee we glorify.
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,
And singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, Alleluia!


Text: William W. How, 1823-1897
Music: Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1872-1958

Read more about All Saints Day here


  1. […] This paragraph was its link, but then that blog died, so in 2010, I posted them myself, as you can read here. Comments […]

    Pingback by But Will Google Have a Graphic for All Saints Day? « Thinking Out Loud — October 30, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  2. I have a pet peeve and you just hit on it…theme days at church. I understand if we are celebrating Easter or Pentecost or Christs birth. But “All Saints”? Does that lead me to focus on God? In one church I attended, people marched up with wilting carnations and laid them on the altar to remember the dead. I just don’t get it…sorry.

    Comment by Cynthia — October 30, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    • I didn’t grow up liturgical, so some of this I’m still considering. Where we would agree for sure, is that I don’t like it when the civic calendar imposes on the spiritual calendar; but I’m not a strong church calendar kind of guy, either. I like consistency, when the church delivers, for lack of a better word, the same product each week.

      On the other extreme are newer kinds of churches that even go so far as to ignore Thanksgiving, which maybe isn’t as big a deal as Christmas or Easter, but often deserves better.

      I think a less liturgical church could acknowledge the day, though; maybe not each year, but it’s a good time to read Hebrews 11 and remember the “lineage of faith,” or what one writer called “the chain of grace.”

      I’m somewhat conflicted here. I don’t seriously think anybody should sing all eleven verses, but I think it wouldn’t hurt modern worship types to consider the possibilities the day offers.

      The song IS badly in need of a lyrical update to be used in many of our churches.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — October 30, 2010 @ 9:22 pm

    • Sorry, I never answered the other aspect of your question.

      I think you can remember the “great lives” or “spiritual heroes” and keep the focus Christ-centered. Otherwise, you run the risk of eliminating all forms of “testimony,” which provide encouragement and model Christian living for others.

      The problem with much of our “vertical” worship which is so popular right now, is that there’s no opportunity to proclaim what God is doing in people’s lives.

      …The carnation thing you described? I’m not up for that.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — October 30, 2010 @ 9:25 pm

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