Dear friends and members of RLC,
On Sunday, November 3, the church will celebrate All Saints Day. This is a day on which we remember those we have loved who have died. Yet we do not remember as those who have no hope, for we trust that the promise of Jesus is true: that when we are united with him in a death like his, we are also united with him in a resurrection like his. And so, we are freed to both grieve our loved ones' absence while also celebrating their presence in the “community of saints”
This year, you will receive slips of paper as you enter the worship space. You are invited to write the names of any people you would like remembered aloud in worship. Please prayerfully hold onto these papers until you are invited forward by the dancers to place these names on the altar. A bit later in the service, they will be gathered together and read aloud.
The dance during the All Saints service will be to a song by the Irish songwriter/singer, Damien Rice. It is a song called Trusty and True. The first time I heard it, I told my son that if I could choose a song to have playing while I died, this would be the one
The first half of the song speaks to me of the distance between my intentions and the actuality of my actions. So many times in life, I meant to do or be far more than I accomplished or was. This includes in my relationships with those I have loved who have died. But-as the song reminds us-”we can't take back what is done, what is past, so let us start from here.”
Maybe this also captures some of what you feel when you remember those who have died—regret as well as love—and the decision (hard as it is some days) to start from here.
The second half of the song speaks to me of the graciousness of God who says, “come, come with fear, come with love, come however you are, just come.” During this part of the song, you will be invited to come forward to the altar and lay the names of your loved ones on this holy table. You are also invited to lay any regrets or pain you feel down on that table. You are invited to “come with sorrow and songs, come however you are, just come.”
When we gather a bit later in the service around the altar to share the “holy community” meal, let your heart imagine the presence of those we have named. They are not gone; their life in Christ is simply being lived in the fullness of the presence of God, as will ours one day when we too are gathered with our ancestors.
In the meantime, we are living as those who have already died and been raised. We have been united with Christ through baptism into death and resurrection: one day our life on this earth will be done and this body's work will be finished and then we will be given a new resurrection body, fit for the kingdom of God where our resurrection life will continue.
We are all “more” because of our relationships—including those we have with loved ones who have died. May their blessed memory be shared among us with tears and with joy. And may we live fearless lives in Christ until we too come fully into his presence.
Peace, Pastor Mary
The Rev. Dr. Mary Ubuntu is the spiritual leader of Resurrection Lutheran Church and has served in that capacity since 2003. More on Pastor Mary can be found HERE.