Several years ago my wife Kathy and I were traveling in Italy in late October. On November 1 we were nearing the end of our journey, but we had one task still to accomplish. We were looking for a set of pottery pasta dishes that we hoped to take home as lasting and useful remembrances of our trip. Driving through the Tuscany countryside we soon discovered that nearly every shop that would have met our needs was closed. Why? We suddenly realized that we had forgotten so far from home that it was All Saints’ Day. And on All Saints’ Day in Italy nearly all commerce stops. Instead, families gather with flowers and memories at the gravesides of dear ones now departed. It is a lovely sight to see.
At home I never forget All Saints’ Day, and the Sunday nearest it when we observe All Saints’ Sunday in worship, remembering all our loved ones who have entered into God’s eternal embrace, but especially those of our congregation who have died in the past year. This coming Sunday’s worship promises to be one of the most meaningful services of the year.
As has become a custom here at BMPC, our Sanctuary Choir will present a requiem throughout the service. This year Jeff Brillhart has selected a contemporary work by Canadian composer Eleanor Daley. I believe you will find both the music and the text comforting and deeply moving. For those of us freshly mourning the loss of someone dearly loved perhaps the morning will prove to be one step along the way toward the realization of Jesus’ promise to all of us: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
From a prayer offered at the close of the meeting of the Board of Deacons last Tuesday evening: "Living God, in whom there is no shadow or change, we thank you for the gift of life eternal, and for all those who having served you well, now rest from their labors. We thank you for all the saints, remembered and forgotten, for those dear souls most precious to us. Today we give thanks for those who during the last twelve months have died and entered into glory. We bless you for their life and love, and rejoice that for them “all is well, and all manner of things will be well.”