It was a weird exercise in remembrance, but my girls didn’t know them but by pictures and stories.
When Aubrey-Anna was two and Madison was five, we took them to my grandparents’ graveside in Jacksonville, Florida.
We told them stories about them, how we see parts of them in their personality and physical mannerisms. I cried a lot.
These are the people who loved me despite me. These are the people that taught me about life. These are the people I looked to as models of faithfulness to God.
Remembering those who have gone before us is a healthy and beautiful way to continue to be formed in our faith journey. In fact, the church has set a day aside for such spiritual endeavors; we call it All Saints’ Day and All Souls' Day.
Formally started in the 7th century by Pope Boniface IV to recognize canonized Saints, November 1, All Saints’ Day has taken on various significances for other Christian traditions. For the free church, the day beckons us to remember those who have gone before us in the faith and to be formed by the Spirit of God from their journeys.
All Souls Day, November 2, has a similar feel to it. This day stretches back to the 13th century as a celebration of all Christians who have died and gone before us.
As you prepare for All Saints’ and Souls’ Day, you are invited to engage in the spiritual discipline of journaling. In this simple exercise, recall those who have gone before you that have made an indelible mark. Consider what about their faith journey inspires you to be formed by the Spirit of God. After you have reflected on their attributes, write a prayer of thanksgiving to God.