His view

Published October 28, 2015

I have always looked forward to the festival of All Saints. It is a culmination of all those days when we remember, with thanksgiving, the work and witness of particular saints and the lives and labours of holy men and women throughout the ages. They include family and friends and colleagues and mentors and spiritual companions.

In this wonderful festival we are mindful of how we are compassed about-that is, surrounded and inspired by their examples. In that great company, too, are those who have been near and dear to us and who have great influence in shaping our own call to lifelong discipleship.

In our view of the communion of saints, we so often find ourselves looking back, albeit with much gratitude for all those who have been chosen vessels of God’s grace at work in the world. While I honour that view, I often find myself wondering if that is our Lord’s view. While I imagine him looking around at all his saints who now rest in his presence, I see him looking ahead, anticipating the next wave of his faithful followers. Rejoicing in all those who embraced his gospel and became ambassadors of his love for the world’s healing and transformation, his gaze shifts from time to time to the future and to all who, in their respective generations, will become lights in the world. It seems to me this view of “the blessed company of all faithful people” reflects the hope of the Psalmist:

“We will recount to generations to come
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
and the wonderful works he has done…

“That the generations to come might know,
and the children yet unborn;
that they in turn might tell it to their children. ”

(Psalm 78: 4,6)

Might his view of looking back, around and ahead become our view of the communion of saints in all its fullness.


Archbishop Fred Hiltz is primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.


  • Fred Hiltz

    Archbishop Fred Hiltz was primate of the Anglican Church of Canada from 2007 to 2019.

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