By Pastor Manda
The festival of All Saints occurs just as the landscape in the Northern Hemisphere heralds the change of season – when some plants die away and others bring a surprisingly sweet winter bloom. This is the time when we ring the bell, light the candles, and remember those who have died in the past year.
This is one of the gifts of Church: to speak honestly about human frailty and mortality. In other communities and spaces, such talk is too risky and inappropriate. Still, this truth rules our living days and without a place to feel the feelings and share the thoughts, we would become slaves to our fears of death. I know that many people love our sister Jean who has been an active part of our congregation and is now in the process of actively dying. And I hear the prayers of intercession that various people lift up about our loved ones, friends, and neighbors who are struggling to hold on to a life which they are not ready to relinquish.
At the same time that we are faced with death, we confess our faith in a risen Lord, the communion of saints, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Both life and death might bring us fear and uncertainty and still the liturgy callus us to hear God’s promise that Christ is with us in life and in death.
This year in worship on November 4th we will once again lift up with the ring of a bell, the names of those in our community who have died in the past calendar year. And we know that there are more people in our lives and in our world who have died, so we will light candles in their honor. In doing so, we hope to remind one another that God unites us all into one body – beyond even death.
If you remember someone of CGS who has passed away since November of 2017, please drop a note in the offering plate or send Pr. Manda an email. If you would like to help us prepare for All Saints Sunday, please let us know in the office. And if you want to light a candle in honor of someone in your life who has died, please be sure to join us for worship on November 4th.
Thank you, God for the many people throughout the generations who have followed you faithfully and made your abundant life known to us. In the midst of trial, they held on to your promise; in the midst of hatred, they kindled love; in the midst of persecutions, they witnessed to your power; in the midst of despair, they proclaimed hope. We thank you for the truth they passed on to us: that by giving, we receive; by becoming weak, we are strong; by loving others we find love; and by dying we shall find life everlasting. God, give us courage to follow their example and join with them in the communion of all the saints.