Each Liturgical Year, rather than focusing on a particular Feast or Festive Season, the church in her wisdom gives us two liturgical seasons to focus on the stories of our faith, the Sundays after Epiphany and the Sundays After Pentecost, the latter being our current liturgical season. Some churches refer to these seasons as “ordinary time,” not because they are ordinary in any sense but rather because they are numbered, or ordered. This week we will keep the Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, and we will spend time with the very familiar story of the curing of the ten lepers. I am looking forward to hearing how Courtney, our preacher, will break open this for us in her sermon.
For us at here at All Saints, the season After Pentecost has been jam-packed with wonderful happenings: we had great mid-week social gatherings, we celebrated our commitment to ministry as we formally welcomed Suzanne as our rector and embraced Courtney as our Associate rector; we gathered to tell our stories and look more deeply at how God is active in our lives; we welcomed back our church school students and parents; and we blessed our beloved pets, furry, scaly, feathered, and finned. So much for a season to relax into the stories of our faith and formation! I feel that finally we are at a moment where we can take a deep breath and listen to and spend time with some wonderful and familiar stories of our faith.
As we look to the end of this liturgical season and the approach of the great feasts of All Souls and All Saints, it is time for us to pause and remember all of those who have gone before us and have been instrumental in forming us both as individuals and as the community of All Saints. We encourage you to take some time in these remaining days of this season to think about and pray with those who have played a role in your spiritual journey. I always get nostalgic this time of year. I grew up in the home of my maternal grandmother, and each year, right about now, she would start the process of making wonderful flower wreaths that we would take on the feast of All Saints and place on the graves of our deceased family members. While there, we would also light a candle and pray quietly as the candle burned and flickered in the breeze. Although that is my cherished memory, the reality is that we would spend three weeks or so, surrounded by scraps of paper and bits of wax, as she formed each flower. Also imagine trying to light a candle and have it burn for a moment, all while standing on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with the winds of autumn howling around you! My dear grandmother Barbara will always be in my heart, and I cannot tell you how much a part of her lives in me today. For this reason, I will be forever grateful for this time to pause and remember her.
Beginning this week, you will find prayer flags in baskets at the doors of the church. We invite you to take as many as you would like and spend some time reflecting on those names and stories that fill your heart. You might want to take a moment and complete the flag before leaving church, or you might want to take the flags home with you and spend some time over the coming weeks in prayer and reflection as you complete your prayer flags. If you will not be present at church and are worshiping with the community online, you can email us your names for the prayer flags, and we will make sure they are a part of the Great Cloud of Witnesses that will hang above our heads on the feast days of All Souls and All Saints.
We will gather on Friday, November 4th, at 6:30 p.m., for a moment of prayer and reflection, as we hang the prayer flags and reflect on the names and stories of our Community of Saints.
I hope and pray that these autumn days find you well and give you a moment to gather up the stories of the saints in your life, and I look forward to the days to come.
In the Spirit,