This coming Sunday is “All Saints Sunday” at EPUMC. On All Saints Sunday we recognize and remember those of our congregation who have died in the past year. Obviously it is also a time when each of us remembers those whom we have loved and lost. This year we will still be remembering those who were so tragically lost at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
At EPUMC we will read the names of those of our congregation who have died, light a candle and ring our bell in observance of their lives. During worship, we will also observe the Sacrament of Holy Communion, invite you to place a flower in a vase for someone you are remembering, and then place that vase on the altar.
Sunday will be a beautiful and moving service and I hope you will attend
Our All Saints celebration is a time when we return to some more traditional roots of our worship. The choir will be wearing robes, I will put on my alb and stole, Tim will play the organ, we will use a musical setting for our Great Thanksgiving during Holy Communion and we will all sing #711 “For All the Saints,” as our closing hymn.
There are six verses to #711 and Don and I often choose to leave out a couple of them. This year we were going to leave out verses 2 and 3 when I caught myself saying, “We have to include vs. 2 it’s the one I get choked up on.” #711 verse #2 goes..
Thou wast their rock, their fortress and their might
Thou, Lord, their captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true light
I don’t know why I seem to think of every saint in my life all at once when I sing the words, “well-fought fight.” Something within me recognizes the stark reality that life is often challenging, the plain truth that life can at times be a struggle for all of us and that no matter who we are, we need God’s one true light to survive.
I will sing these words from memory and much too loudly for those standing near me. This is because they come up out of the very depths of my soul. I seldom experience this kind of resonance going on between my body and mind and spirit. I understand intellectually the words. I can feel the sensation of the words passing across my lips in song. And then, and this is what moves me, then there is this energy, the pull of relationships from years past that comes alive again in the moment the notes are played and I sing.
Now I am not saying that each of us should expect the same kind of experience on Sunday. I can only give witness to my personal experience. And yet I’ve experienced this sense of connection so powerfully so often on All Saints Sunday that I wanted you to know. I suppose it also helps you to know who it will be that is singing so loudly in the front pew where I’ll be standing.
Keep the Faith,