As complicated as we make the biblical narrative, more often than not there is a profound and simplistic subtlety to it all. Take for example, the Hebrew scriptures. Wrapped up in this twenty-four-unit work is a repetitious retelling of Israel’s story: Once we were not a people. Yet, God chose us and made us a holy people.
Whether the people found themselves bound by the restraints of the wilderness wandering or the captivity of the Babylonians, the sage among the Israelite called them to remember their story, remember their God.
As we remember those who have gone before us on this All Saints Day, may we retell our story, the story of this faith community, the story of God.
Fredric Buchner, in his work, A Room Called Remember, put it this way, “The time is ripe for looking back over the day, the week, the year, and trying to figure out from where we have come from and to where we are going, for sifting through the things we have done and the things we have left undone for a clue to who we are and who, for better or worse, we are becoming.”
Consider, how have those who have gone before us have formed us into who we are and into who we are becoming, individually and as a faith community? How might their story inspire, edify, equip, and empower us for today?
Enter into the spiritual practice of remembrance. Reflect, contemplate, discern, and step forward into a living history of those who have gone before us. We are their living stories. We are the living examples of a living God that is active in our lives and in this faith community.
In her work, The Lessons of History, Ariel Durant wrote, “The present is the past rolled up for action, and the past is the present unrolled for understanding.”