When the person waiting on our table this week saw that we had raised our glasses several times for toasts, she asked “Are you celebrating something special?” “Yes,” we said, “we’re celebrating the life of Gerald Faaren who died on this twenty sixth day of October.” It wasn’t the answer she expected.
Gerald was my wife’s father. He was supremely kind and generous, and he took delight in all eighty four years of life that God gave him. Now, it is our tradition to give thanks for him on his “Feast Day”, as we call it. Perhaps many of you do the same thing in your own family traditions.
In our Church tradition, we have adopted November 1st as the great Feast Day for all the saints who have lived and died in Christ. When we gather for worship, we will name those members of our congregation who have died since we gathered on All Saints Sunday one year ago. We will also invite you to speak the names of those that you are remembering on that special day.
In all of this, we are really remembering God, who is the giver of life and of all good gifts. Amidst our grief and sorrow, we also remember the promise that life with God is everlasting! In the wondrous and mysterious communion of saints, we are not to lost to God or to each other. Instead, we are forever bound together in a love that never ends.
It calls to mind some of my favorite words from the hymn entitled “For All the Saints”. In verse three, we sing: “Oh blest communion, fellowship divine, we feebly struggle, they in glory shine; yet all are one in thee, for all are thine. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Pastor Jan Ruud