This week, we mark All Saints Sunday, a celebration of the “great cloud of witnesses”—all those who have gone before us in the faith. In our tradition, we understand God’s “saints” to include all those who have sought to live in faithfulness to Christ and the gospel.
As is practiced in many congregations, All Saints Day here at Cloverdale United Church gives us an opportunity to lift up in remembrance and celebration loved ones from within our own midst who have died, especially those connected with our congregation who have passed away since last All Saints Sunday. We will hear their names spoken in love and see candles shining with the light of Christ in their honour.
Our worship will also include the opportunity for worshippers to make special remembrances of others who have died who they would like to lift up in God’s light and love. For this year’s observance, in-person worshippers are invited to bring along a small photograph or other small memento of remembrance of your loved one(s) that can be added to our altarscape during the rite of remembrance. (You will be able to retrieve these items following the service.)
Because of the way the calendar falls, All Saints Sunday this year is also Remembrance Sunday for us here in Canada, and so we will also remember that among the great cloud of witnesses are those whose earthly journeys were ended through the horrors of war, and we will pray that the lists of those we remember on Remembrance Day might, by God’s providence, grow no longer.
Our worship this Sunday will reach its culmination as we gather at the Feast Table of Christ, where the great cloud of witnesses surrounds us as we share together in the sacrament of Holy Communion... a foretaste of that heavenly banquet in God's coming reign wherein death will be no more and every tear will be wiped away. (If you are joining us online for worship, you will want to prepare some bread -- a slice, a small loaf, even a cracker if that's what you have on hand... any kind of bread -- and also a cup or cups of juice or wine, so that you can partake along with those who will be participating in worship from within the church sanctuary.)