Monday, November 05, 2007

All Saints Sunday

*Today, as in many churches, we celebrated All Saints Sunday at Franklin Lakes. I appreciated Michelle's post at 33 Names of Grace about celebrating All Saints for the first time in a new appointment. Michelle talks about how you are thinking about those you lost in your previous appointment while not yet knowing the saints who are being grieved in your new appointment. Today at FLUMC, we in particular remembered two saints who passed away since last All Saints - and for good and for bad, both of these women died after my arrival here in September. Of course, I didn't have long to get to know these two women. But I got to have a small part in their lives.

We also took a moment to remember other saints - people had time to come forward and light a tea light candle in memory of other loved ones, and write their name on a record of sorts of the day. I would estimate that about half of the congregation came forward to light a candle for someone, and it is a time I always find very special. After worship, I was talking with my mother (who is in town visiting) about why it's a special day...

I think that we're not great (as a society) at grieving and mourning and comforting each other in grief and mourning. And I think that we might be ok at being there for people in their first year of grieving, but not so much after the first year. But I think we always carry with us these saints, these losses. We always have these people who have shaped us and touched us in our hearts. And sometimes, I think, we're just waiting for a chance to be able to talk about them, share about them, remember them out loud and in public.

Today, I thought about my grandfather, my grandmother, my aunt. I thought about Al, the first parishioner I lost in Oneida, and Wanda, whose funeral was the last I led there, and the many names in between. I thought, too, of the new names I already know, in the way you quickly know the names of people who have shaped the church in the years before your arrival.

What saints are you carrying with you?

*Image: 'All Saints Day', for sale here.
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