All Saints’ Sunday
Dear Faithful Praying Family & Friends,
Honestly, Chemo Round 2, Days 4-10 were rough [no ER visit, however!]. I began to feel normal on Day 11 and this morning I went to worship and tonight I enjoyed “Soup Group,” which we host in our home and which is the highlight of my week. Soup Group is the weekly Sunday Evening Supper & Study for Graduate Students & Faculty. We always serve homemade soup and lately, dear friends have offered to take a turn making soup for us. [Thanks to Patty, Margie, Jessica, and Kris!] This semester, we are discussing “Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church,” by N T Wright. This has been a challenging, yet fascinating, book to study and discuss.
Now, back to this morning: “All Saints Sunday: Is a holy time when we celebrate all the people of God, those now living on this earth and those who have passed into the greater life, who together form the mystical Body of Christ. New members are welcomed into Christian life in the Sacrament of Baptism. We also remember all who have lived and died in faith, with whom we know we’ll be reunited around God’s heavenly throne. Banners are displayed for children who are baptized on this day, and a procession of banners for those who have departed this life in the past year streams to the altar in remembrance.” [from St. Peter’s Anglican Church Service Leaflet]
What a poignant and emotional morning is All Saints Sunday, for me, every year, because I usually know the family of at least one of the persons who has died. The Entrance Hymn, during the Procession, is always the majestic “For All the Saints, Who From Their Labors Rest,” during which we [the congregation] stand and sing all eight verses! [I invite you to ponder the theological depths and riches of that hymn, for I cannot type it out here.] I will, however, share the first verse with you:
“For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee, by faith before the world confessed, thy Name O Jesus, be forever blessed. Allelluia, Alleluia!”
As I sing the hymn, I see the back of each banner-carrier as he/she slowly processes down the aisle, toward the altar. The banner-carrier is almost always a close family member of the person who has died. When the family member reaches the front of the sanctuary, he/she turns around and hands the banner to the Verger, who positions each banner so that it faces the congregation during the rest of the worship service. The banner displays the first name of the loved one who has died and underneath is the phrase, “Christ’s Own Forever.” For just a few seconds, I can see the brave face of the family member before he/she returns to their pew. This is the moment that I have to compose myself and fight back tears, as I think about the loss, sorrow, and grief of that family.
The Worship Service was especially poignant to me this year –today — and I am keenly interested in understanding the content of the N T Wright. Is there a connection to my current suffering? Absolutley! No matter how brief or long my life may yet be, through suffering, I have been given a gift: A view of seeing my life as, not my own, but as belonging to Christ. “You are not your own; you have been bought with a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” [1 Corinthians 6.20]
May I remember, in spite of the suffering, that I belong to Christ forever! Please pray for me, especially between Days 4-10, of the next Chemo Round. These are the days that I am filled with despair and fear. These are the days that I find it difficult to “glorify God in my body.” The suffering batters me, weakens me, and renders me unable to think clearly. [Just ask my husband and he will confirm this!] At those times, I need those of you who are strong to remind me of the truth.
7 responses to “Remembrance”
Truth reminder: He loves you beyond measure and is bearing every agony with you.
“You are loved with an everlasting love…that’s what the Bible says…and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Elizabeth Elliot’s Truth reminder, the opening line of her radio show for many years.)
Hope you feel like swimming again soon because you get so much joy from it.
Love and prayers,
Thanks for the loving reminders of truth!
I know I can count on you to continue praying and I thank you for that commitment.
I did go swimming and swam 32 continuous laps last week. Looking forward to going again this week.
OK, Margo. I am once again in tears b/c of All Saints Day!!
You got it Sister! We will pray, pray, pray on days 4 – 10 during the next round.
As Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms to ensure that the Israelites won the battle against the army of Amalek (Ex. 17) your “family” will hold you up in prayer in your battle to overcome this and so that you have the victory in Jesus!
Thank you so much for your assurances of prayer!
Looking forward to Thanksgiving!
What a treacherous road you have been on! I am in prayer for you as I type this and will continue for these upcoming days…Psalm 6l has been the place that I have been running to these days because in it I have seen a strong “father” image and a strong “mother” image – which are both found in the ONE, our Father Almighty.
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer:
from the end of the earth I call to you
When my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I (a father)
for you have been a refuge, a strong tower against
the enemy. (a mother)
Let me dwell in your tent forever (a father)
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your
wings! (a mother)
SELAH – pause – Breathe – He, your ABBA, loves you and longs to comfort you in all your distress…
May you find the hidden blessings in this day…
I love you,
Thank you for your encouraging comment, your assurances of prayer and your sharing of Scripture.
Loved reading Psalm 61 with you.
Your post is truly beautiful…I really appreciate your special insight.
I had never seen God’s parental love quite that way…except for the specific Scriptures that mention God’s Mother/Father love (like Psalm 27:10, Isaiah 39:15 and 66:13) that I have found through the last year or so…and have clung to like a life preserver in a storm or shelter in the wilderness, etc..
Thank you for a whole and wonderful new way to see the Scriptures and to find comfort.