Re-Enchanting the World

candles

The leaves are falling and the air is getting cooler. The earth is preparing for its big slumber and the days are getting shorter while the nights gets longer. These things remind us that life is not permanent and that death is, paradoxically, a part of life.

The weekend of October 31st thru Monday, November 2nd is a holy triduum in the church during which time we celebrate the folk tradition of all hallow’s eve (halloween), as well as the feasts of all saints’ day, and all souls’ day.  Through these wonderful and colorful celebrations the church ‘re-enchants’ the world in which we live and re-connects us to it in a meaningful way.  These three days give us a safe container in the liturgical calendar in which to note and mourn the passing of life even as we recommit ourselves to living fully and loving deeply. 

Tonight the Shirley’s (221 S. Edgefield) host a pumpkin carving extravaganza and Stephanie Wyatt will lead our conversation about the historical relationship between All Hallow’s Eve and All Saints/ Souls (see her meditation below). Then Sunday everyone is invited to bring photos, keepsakes, and stories as we remember together the brave souls who ignited our Christian tradition as well as loved ones and guides who are no longer with us. On Sunday morning at 10am we will build an altar together and at 11am celebrate a special Communion of Saints Service.

 
Peace to you all this day,
Courtney

 

 

Bring your keepsakes and your stories and join us at 10 am to build the altar and 11 am for our Communion of Saints Service as we memorialize death and celebrate life.

Stephanie’s Meditation on All Hallows/All Saints
 
Tonight at our Wednesday night gathering we will explore the old European traditions behind All Hallows Eve, which we know as Halloween. What we experience in the contemporary U.S. as a festive secular occasion developed out of European folk traditions of ritualizing the changing of the seasons. As pre-Christian practices became part of the liturgical calendar of the church, the recognition of days shortening and plant-life dying also became a time of remembering the dead, both the saints and martyrs of the church (All Saints Day, Nov. 1) and the loved ones of the community who had passed away (All Souls Day, Nov. 2). This period of acknowledging worlds beyond their reach served as a kind of Triduum, a three-day period of feasting and praying, of merriment and mourning, of nighttime trickery and daytime remembering.

All Hallows Eve is to All Saints and All Souls much like Mardi Gras is to Ash Wednesday.

As humans we need help with transitions. Social customs and religious rituals help us navigate the scary space between the known and the unknown. Rather than hiding from the change from fall to winter, the tradition of All Hallows embraced and even reveled in the crisp evening air. Rather than pushing away the shadowy figures and things that could go bump in the night, neighbors welcomed visitors who came knocking on their doors and delighted in the things that could frighten them by creating costumes and wearing masques. Instead of pushing away a world beyond their understanding, they transformed their anxieties by making the strange familiar and laughing at the things they could not control.
 
On Sunday we will put a Church in the Cliff spin on All Saints Day. As has become common practice in Protestant churches, we will collapse the distinction between saints and souls, honoring all of the beloveds who are no longer with us. We will extend our understanding of “saints” by including all those who have inspired us and helped us live more fully into God’s calling, whether we came to know them in person, through a well-played album, or on the page of a favorite book. Inspired by the Latin American traditions surrounding All Souls Day (Dia de los Muertos), we will commemorate our loved ones with colorful fabric, candles, and communion. We invite you to bring pictures and mementos of relatives, friends, mentors, and inspirational figures who are no longer with us. On Sunday morning beginning at 10am we will build an altar together that remembers and gives thanks to God for their lives.

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