Sometimes in Texas it is hard to know when autumn begins. Even though stores are pulling out merchandise for Halloween and Thanksgiving and even Christmas, the landscape is telling a different story. But soon the leaves will turn from green to red to brown and then the trees will enter their tombs for a few months. Every year, nature speaks to us of death and rebirth, death and rebirth. By Sunday the weather should turn a bit, sunny but crisp, the first chilling touch of autumn. And so we gather to celebrate and grieve with All Saints and All Souls.
These are technically distinct days, but I’m Baptist, so I don’t know any better. All Saints is the day we commemorate saints and All Souls is the day we pray for the dead. These are not unrelated. These holy days originated under the Catholic understanding of purgatory and heaven. The saints are those who found union with God during their lifetimes and so got to skip Purgatory. Everyone else, though having been cleansed of sin, must pay for their sins. We honor the saints in the hope that they will intercede and pass on their excess merit to those who wait in purgatory. We pray for the dead so that they can be forgiven their sins. Obviously, there is a whole lot of theology there that most of us don’t affirm,
But I also think there is a lot to hold onto. Everyone, at some point in our lives, catches a glimpse of the divine. When we do, we must respond and we can respond in a way that reveals it to others. Everyone also is driven by fears, doubts, desires, and delusions. This is sin. To the extent that we pass those on to others, we increase sin in the world. When a person dies, all of that is left behind. We have blessed some and cursed others. Commemoration of the dead, whether in funerals or on a holy day, is a way of dealing with some of what is left behind.
This Sunday, we will honor those who have passed. Bring pictures. Or flowers. Or a poem. Something to remember the dead. It can be someone personal, someone from your family or a friend. Or it can be someone who has made a difference in your life, though you never met. Honor someone whose words or deeds became a miracle in your life, whether it was a dear aunt, a musician you’d like to canonize, or St. Francis of Assisi. Or let go of some pain. Clear the way for the beatific vision, to catch a glimpse of the divine.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at Kidd Springs Rec Center, as we honor the dead.
Grace and Peace,
Bread for the World Sunday Recap
On Sunday, we raised $172 for Bread for the World and wrote letters to encourage our representatives to support programs for the poor and hungry. Thanks to all who participated and gave!