November 1st is All Saints Day, a sometimes-overlooked holy day in United Methodist congregations. It is not nearly as well known as the day before, All Hallows’ (Saints’) Eve, better known as Halloween, but is far more important in the life of the church.
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, enjoyed and celebrated All Saints Day. In a journal entry from November 1, 1767, Wesley calls it “a festival I truly love.” On the same day in 1788, he writes, “I always find this a comfortable day.” The following year he calls it “a day that I peculiarly love.
This may sound odd. United Methodists don’t believe in saints. Right? Well, yes… and no.
Wesley cautioned against holding saints in too high regard. The Articles of Religion that he sent to the Methodists in America in 1784 includes a statement against “invocation of saints” (Article XIV—Of Purgatory, Book of Discipline ¶104). Wesley did not see biblical evidence for the practice and discouraged Methodists from participating. However, he also advised against disregarding the saints altogether.
One song
On All Saints Day, we recognize that we are part of a giant choir singing the same song. It is the song
Jesus taught his disciples; a tune that has resonated for more than 2,000 years; a melody sung in glory
and on the earth. Our great privilege is to add our voices to this chorus.
The last verse of “Come, Let Us Join our Friends Above” encourages us to sing faithfully while on
earth, so we might join the heavenly chorus one day.
Our spirits too shall quickly join, like theirs with glory crowned,
and shout to see our Captain’s sign, to hear His trumpet sound.
O that we now might grasp our Guide! O that the word were given!
Come, Lord of Hosts, the waves divide, and land us all in heaven.
On All Saints Day, let us give thanks for both the saints in glory and those on earth, who have led us
to Jesus. As they have shared the gospel with us, may we add our voices so someone else may hear
about the grace and love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Thanks be to God for the lives of his saints.
Joe Iovino, 
United Methodist Communications