I write this on All Saint's Day, November 1. Commemorations honoring the deceased of the faith have been going on since the 4th century. Bells are rung in remembrance, in special church services. Celebrated in many cultures, the day for most all involves visiting the graves of ones ancestors, taking flowers (usually chrysanthemums) or food.
In modern times, protestant churches embraced the holiday more fully, as a time to remember church members who have died in the past year. John Wesley called it a day he particularly loved. I agree. I love calling to my mind the priceless treasure of people who have been part of our church community and are now gone. I think not just of those whose death has been recent, but I remember people from churches I served in the past – I think of conversations I had with them while they were living, ministries and service that they shared with me, and my heart is warmed by these memories.
The first Sunday of November has become the day we bring this celebration into worship. I invite you to be with us, to remember your own ancestors, and those of the church who have been gone for a long time, as well as those who have recently died. They leave us a legacy of memory and spirit and faith.
We are blessed by them still.
Thanks be to God.