It's All Saints Day
In the Lutheran church (as well as other liturgical churches), All Saints Day is a day that we bring photos of our dearly departed into the sanctuary. We put them all together and place candles before them. The liturgy is focused on the communion of saints as we remember the dead who dwell among us.
It hits at the same time of year as Halloween. I have a bit of a pagan side, and this hits all the feels for me. Plus, All Saints Day marks the time of year when things are really getting going in the church. Advent is right around the corner. Then Christmas. Then the crescendo with Eastertide.
This year, though, I’m experiencing a longing as many of us are. We won’t be gathering undistanced in the sanctuary as we did merely a year ago (it’s mind-boggling how different life was just a year ago). Yes, we’re going to do a fine job of Zoom church as we have since COVID began. But it’s not the same. It’s missing the most important part of the Christian faith. And that is the embodied part.
On All Saints Day, we sit with the disembodied so as to experience the sacredness of our embodiment.
It is a day that we recognize our mortality. During a pandemic, this has become exceptionally real to so many of us. Celebrating it on All Saints makes it sacred.
Maybe you can celebrate All Saints Day wherever you are this Sunday. Dust off those photos of your dearly departed. Put them on a special table. Light some candles. Say some prayers. Or, just sit with them.
As flawed as these people may have been, they are declared Saints as well. As my liturgy professor wrote,
All Saints resonates with the conviction that in Christ every saint is a sinner and every sinner a saint, simul justus et peccator. Lutherans especially remember on this feast that it is God’s grace, apart from our works, that makes us saints. We find lasting rest only in the mercy of God.
Happy All Saints. I pray that you are well in both body and soul.
Grace + Godspeed,