Greetings friends. Soon, we will celebrate All Saints Day in the life of the church. For me, it is one of the holiest days of the Christian calendar. We celebrate those persons in the life of the church who have passed beyond death and now enjoy the transformation of God's reign. We claim for each of these beloved persons lost to us the resurrection promise in Jesus Christ.
As we ring a handbell and call their name in prayer in our Sunday services on November 6th, I join you in remembering and giving thanks. The threshold of faith we experience can be palpable. My emotions will be thinly sliced this year as I remember my mother Anabel who passed in January. Indeed, the space we share that day will be rich with the goodness of God's mercy and grace.
With this note, I attach two photos. One photo is the west elevation of the Manchaca UMC church building. Can you remember all the persons who have come and gone in the life of this congregation? As the congregation changed, so did the campus. Its growth is a physical reminder of the rich life of discipleship enjoyed in this place. The other photo is a common stock photo of a bunch of votive style candles. We use them to light worship spaces and remember souls who now cheer us on from the heavenly realm of saints.
I invite you to use these photos or any other sacred photograph you may choose during your time of prayer in the coming days. Gaze into the memory of that threshold moment held so dear when we remember our beloved members. Give thanks to God. And offer yourself again to Christ and the ministry and mission of the Church - the body of Christ. We join the saints of our lives in claiming this moment as a vital moment in the life of our church and community.
Know this, you are loved by God! Hear this, you are beloved in the family of Christ. Read this, a blessing for all "In the Death of the Beloved" by John O'Donohue, printed in "A Book of Blessings: To Bless the Space Between Us,"
Though we need to weep your loss,
You dwell in that safe place in our hearts
where no storm or night or pain can reach you.
Your love was like dawn
brightening over our lives,
Awakening beneath the dark
a further adventure of color.
The sound of your voice found for us a new music that brightened everything.
We look toward each other no longer
from the old distance of our names;
now you dwell inside the rhythm of breath,
as close to us as we are to ourselves.
Though we cannot see you with outward eyes,
we know our soul's gaze is upon your face,
smiling back at us from within everything
to which we bring our best refinement.
May you continue to inspire us:
to enter each day with a generous heart.
To serve the call of courage and love
until we see your beautiful face again
in that land where there is no more separation,
where all tears will be wiped from our mind,
And where we will never lose you again.
Author: Paul E Harris
Journal posts from a pastor and spiritual friend