In addition to being Stewardship Sunday at St. Andrew’s, this coming Sunday, October 31, we will celebrate All Saints’ Day. During the service, we will lift up the names of those who have passed away this year, recognizing their place in the “great cloud of witnesses” that accompany us in our worship and ministry. But All Saints’ Day isn’t just a remembrance of those who recently passed; it is the remembrance of all those who have gone before us (a great cloud indeed) remembering that they are a part of the Body of Christ.
I have heard more than one widow or widower who have a hard time returning to church after their spouse passes. “Everywhere I look,” they say, “I see my wife [husband]. It’s too painful.” They are right. Our deceased loved ones are present in the church in a form that is a mystery to you and to me, as are all of those who once graced the pews of St. Andrew’s. The Rev. Timothy Hart-Anderson put it best
“When we come together to worship, or when we quietly pray, or when we stand to sing a hymn, we are joined by this wonderful community, the communion of saints. We are, with them, fellow citizens, members of the commonwealth of God, the body of Christ that spans this life and the next.”
The Church is more than just a wonderful group of people. It is a community beyond time and space. It is both ancient history and future possibility. So this Sunday we will pause to remember the breadth and depth of our faith and its embrace of our loved ones who are no longer present in body but are inseparable from us in Christ. And as we do so we will also pledge ourselves to God’s future mission, knowing that long after we have shed this earthly garment we will be present in this wonderful community.
Thanks be to God!