Selected posts from around our network of affiliated bloggers
What does it mean to observe All Souls Day in the year of #BlackLivesMatter? What does it mean to commemorate the dead in a year in which 957 were shot and killed by police?
The lectionary readings for All Saints Day and All Souls Day include lovely words and images of God’s care for us and the Divine's promise of eternal life. In the face of death, these are the promises we cling to as Christian people. And they are good promises. True promises. And, to be quite honest, annoying promises to have repeated to you over and over and over again when you are in the midst of deep grief.
I stopped in at the preschool this afternoon. It is right across from my church, and "relating to the preschool" was actually in my letter of call. So, once a week, I lead a brief chapel service for a hundred or so preschoolers, and, lately, I have been stopping by for a half-hour or an hour, just dropping in on a couple of classes to see what they are doing.
Sunday is All Saints' Day, and, many churches will read the Roll of Remembrance, which includes the names of the faithful who have died in the past year. Yes, I know there's a separate occasion for that on November 2, when the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed is observed. Yes, I understand that confusing those who have died in the past year with all the saints who have gone before undermines our ability to focus and properly celebrate either. Yes, I know the Episcopal Church has an underdeveloped theology of sainthood. But, sweeping all of that aside for a moment, when I read John 11:32–22, I find myself wondering just how big of a hope we are celebrating.
I hate paperwork at the best of times. I hate filling out forms, grinding through the interminable bureaucratic labyrinths that seem to be part and parcel of modern life. Sign this waiver. Check that box. File this form. Send that release. Print it for your records. On and on it goes. Paperwork is slow death. I hate paperwork even more today. I spent an hour and a half with a young Syrian woman in our city who is trying to get her family out of Lebanon and over to safety here in Lethbridge.
For the last few Sundays I’ve filled the pulpit for a small church that has lost its critical mass. Attendance has dwindled to a faithful few, all of whom are running out of energy. Not a happy situation. Still, when I enter the church building, I feel a sense of welcome and warmth from the folks who are keeping the place afloat. Last Sunday we had visitors, an older couple, tall and friendly-faced.