Monday, November 01, 2021

A Sugar High & All the Saints


1 For all the saints, who from their labours rest, 

all who by faith before the world confessed,

your name, O Jesus, be forever blest. Hallelujah, hallelujah!

We had fun trick-or-treating with two of our grandchildren last evening. They are still at that stage where they can hardly believe that they get so much loot for free and race from house to house in the quest for more.

Our secular, sugar-high  Halloween is the remnant of  All Hallows Eve in the Christian calendar while today is All Saints and tomorrow is All Souls. The three days are a recognition of the fleeting nature of our earthly existence, the "thin place" between this life and the next, and the cherishing of those "saints and souls" who have gone before us.

Recently I saw an article about the death of a long-time friend and colleague of former pope, Benedict, and his response to the news of his passing.  You may recall that Benedict took the unprecedented step of resigning from the papacy and was succeeded by current Pope Francis. Benedict is now in his 90's as was his friend. Accorading to a Crux article Benedict wrote to the abbot of the friend's monastery:

Of all my colleagues and friends, he was the closest to me. His joyfulness and his deep faith always attracted me,” Benedict said.“Now he has reached the afterlife, where certainly many friends await him,” he said, adding, “I hope that I may join them soon.

I was no fan of Benedict as pope but his response to a personal loss is touching. How many of us as Christians who live in resurrection hope wonder what the afterlife will be like and whether we will be reunited with those we have loved and lost?  In congregations I have served we've acknowledged those who died in the past year on a designated  All Saints/Souls Sunday in November. It has been a moving experience, particularly for those whose loved ones are amongst those named. 

Whether we have total confidence that one day we will be reunited with loved ones, or live with a mixture of uncertainty and hope, we need comfort and a sense that all lives are cherished and not forgotten. 

God be with all of you who are experiencing the poignancy of loss and desire to affirm the mystery and promise of the resurrection in Christ Jesus. 

3 O blest communion, fellowship divine! We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

yet all are one within your great design. Hallelujah, hallelujah!

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