Preparing for All Saints
All Saints Sunday became one of my favorite Sundays during my years serving Salem Covenant Church. Liturgy and lectionary were growing on me and the choir and organ heightened my sense of "holy awe" as we would process into the sanctuary seeing the names of all our friends who joined the church triumphant in the prior year. Some years we had upwards of eighteen to twenty names, which translated into two funerals per month. Some were graceful deaths of friends whose bodies wore out and we eager to be with Jesus. Others were wrenching deaths of young people who died too early and left big gaping holes in families and among friends.
But the church celebrated all the live and we read the names in a litany, punctuated by a carillon bell tolling.
But while my situation has changed from formal to informal, from robes to suit and tie, from organ to guitar and ensemble, the day of celebration remains anchored in me deeper than ever. It transcends style and technique and is now about a potent reminder; what I see is not all that is, what I have known is not all I will experience, there is more going on than my physical sense can comprehend. So on All Saints I stand and gasp in awe and hope. He died. He is risen. He is coming again!