Wednesday, October 31, 2012
For the Saints
All Hallow's Eve. Halloween. Reformation.
This All Hallow's Eve I remember those who have died. In preparation for All Saints Sunday we have a list of names of the saints who died this past year. We will speak their names during worship; they will join us at the table as they do every week. We will light candles and give thanks for the light that still shines in our midst. We will remember and we will honor the mystery and grace of death and resurrection.
Yet, never did I imagine that I would have my own father's life and name and history to lift up as one of the names of the saints. Never did I anticipate that reality. Never did I want to believe that death and grief would so powerfully take hold of me.
I don't want to speak my father's name on Sunday. I don't want to acknowledge the reality that he is dead, that he is among the saints. I don't want to know that he joins us with all the saints who have gone before and all that are to come. I want his real voice, his real skin, his real touch. With me. Now.
Due to a variety of circumstances, I am not preaching on Sunday. Perhaps that is for the best. Or perhaps preaching would have been a way to give honor to the day and my father. Nevertheless, I will have God's word declared to me by another.
I am the pastor and I will preside at worship. I will light a candle for my dad. I will read the names of the saints. I will acknowledge in a small way the power of naming the saints, of remembering.
But most importantly, I think for this coming Sunday, I am first and foremost a daughter. A daughter who misses her father. A daughter who yearns for time to go backward. A daughter looking into the light and trusting in the words of others that resurrection is real.
"By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high
will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet in the way of peace."