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Friday, November 02, 2007

All-Saints' Sunday: surrounded


In a recent PBS "Frontline" special on death, a mortician commented that at today's increasingly creative funeral services, everyone is invited to attend and contribute EXCEPT for the deceased. Across the country he notes a cultural trend avoiding having the body of the person present as his/her funeral/memorial service. I have noticed this trend in moving to California. Recently we had a service for a woman in our church and the family requested bringing the casket into the sanctuary. A staff member commented that this was the first time in memory that a casket came into the church.
Yesterday was All Saints' Day and Sunday is All Saints' Sunday. It's a time for us to joyfully acknowledge the myth of the tryanny of the present. All Saints' Day announces that we are not the first to arrive. Others have gone before us. Others have fought faith battles that we might be where we are. Others have prayed for us and shaped us. Others laid down their lives that we might live. Others are not the stuff of memory and myth, legend and romantic sentimentality, but they are really and actually gathered about the throne of God, the cheering section for those of us now on the track running the race. So, light your candles, say your names, go through the litany of saints known and unkown. You are not alone, but surrounded by a cloud!

3 Comments:

At 1:52 PM , Blogger Andrew Stonina said...

I saw that Frontline show as well. I thought the comment was very striking at the time. Then I thought about it for a while and notice how true it is. The funeral industry makes billions of dollars and most of that is spent on things like talking/video headstones and diamonds made out of their loved one's ashes.

I have an interesting situation in which, at least from what I can tell, they have not celebrated All Saints Sunday, so we will see what happens!

 
At 8:33 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Do it well Andrew!

 
At 8:33 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

Do it well Andrew!

 

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