November 1 is traditionally the beginning of my month of gratitude, and this November 1 is no different in that regard.
I am lucky to have a few excellent people who've signed on to be guest bloggers this month (though I'm open to more if you're interested), but most of the posts will still be mine.
Last year, I wrote a little about how November 1 is also All Saints' Day, and I will say this about that: Wikipedia is a wealth of information and also excellent turns of phrase on the subjects of saints and "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God."
So let's go back to that hymn from last year. The gist of it, basically, is, "I could do that."
And it's true.
And people love it. In fact, according to Wikipedia, "The hymn remains a popular favourite with American churchgoers who have grown up with it. In a 2003 survey of 'desert island' hymns run by the website anglicansonline.org, the hymn was voted 14th."
Now, there's kind of a lot going on in that last sentence, and I do not know what a desert island hymn is (I mean, I can guess, but — is that a thing?), but it's a pretty neat thing that a hymn written to suggest to children that the world is full of good and holy people and that there's no reason for said children not to do the same is that popular, especially when we sing it once a year, pretty much.
There's a lot of crap in the world. And say what you want, Hymnal 1982 committee, about that hymn's alleged lack of theological profundity, but that idea — that goodness is real and present in our lives, and to be emulated — does not feel so shallow to me.
Day 1 of our month of gratitude: I am thankful for the saints as they are evident to me in my life, for those who are role models and teachers and sources of benevolence, for those who reflect or connect the divine to us, for the patient, the brave, and the true.
Hey, if you're new around here and not sure how you feel about this religious mumbo-jumbo, please stick around. I don't always talk about saints. Sometimes, I talk about radical politics or animals in buildings or food that makes me angry. Often, I tell funny stories at my expense. Poke around; there's really something for everyone.