Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All Saints Ahead

All Saints Sunday is one I've been wanting to celebrate. It offers us a chance to remember in public even after the official or unofficial time for mourning is past. We can learn much from remembering since our fast-paced lives don't usually allow time for reflection.

This week I have more than enough time for reflection. Thanks to our dog, affectionately nick-named 'Devil Dog', I have cracked bones in my ankle and am in an air cast and on crutches. When I can put pressure on the foot without pain, the cast will allow me to walk on it. This is the good news. The bad news is it still hurts and is very tender to the touch so I hobble around getting up only when necessary.

I'm settled into the cuddler of the couch, which is the perfect place for a semi-invalid. There's pillows all around and plenty of room for my leg to be elevated. I have books on all sides and a power cord for times when the laptop needs charging. It gives me the illusion of independence when actually it takes only a simple pang of hunger to realize I am dependent on my family for food and drink.

Life is a similar illusion. We are "independent" souls, creating our way in the world, learning to fly on our own by getting jobs and homes and creating families. Our lives are wedded to the priorities of work and play. We "make our own way" and strive to "be all that we can be". We are "self-made people". We live a deception that we create for ourselves.

The reality is life is only a breath. We are as fragile as being knocked to the ground by my dog proves. We are a heartbeat away from death and delude ourselves into immortality by planning for the future. Recalling the Saints of the past reminds us that we too are mere mortals that depend on God for life. Not only that, we desperately need each other to live with any fullness and happiness for it is only in community that true joy is found. This is why our remembrances are important. They reunited us to a community that extends on both sides of death. The community of God's creation of all life and the promise of something beyond the last breath.

What will that 'more' be? We don't know for sure, only that the Christ promised it is found through him. Dan R. Dick (writing in Lectionary Homiletics volume XX, no.6) says,

". .of all the gifts e have been given by God, among the greatest is each other. Our relationships give meaning and purpose to our lives, filling our days with rich and rewarding experiences"

On Sunday we name the names from the past relationships that have given meaning to our lives then and now. We remember by looking back and we pull back the curtain of delusion by looking ahead, not fearing an end but trusting in a love that continues.

Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"


Sarah said...

Thank you for sharing these thoughts. I am getting started on planning my sermon for Sunday, too, and this has helped give some shape to some of my ideas.

RJ said...

Hi there... great to read you post and I share you love and anticipation of All Saints Day. As I searched for pix for my blog this week I was struck by all the candles... fascinating, yes? Our quest for God's light burns deep in both the living and the dead. Many blessings.