My youngest daughter, Aubrey-Anna, turned six-years-old on September 8th. If you missed out on bestowing gifts upon her, you can write a check to “Cash” and send it to me! She also likes adult size Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or Comic Book t-shirts.
On September 8th every year, this is a unique experience. On the one hand, we get to celebrate this beautiful spark plug of life and passion. On the other hand, it is the day that my beloved grandmother, Nana, passed away two years before Aubrey-Anna was born.
Evelyn Rhoden (Nana) was one of the most remarkable women in my life. She taught so much about living, faith, humor, and family. There is not a day that goes by that I do not miss her vibrant smile, wry sense of humor, tender heart, fantastic cooking, and unabashed hospitality.
Remembering those who have gone before us is a healthy and beautiful way to continue to be formed in our faith journey. 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 1st, 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 2nd, has a similar feel to it. This day stretches back to the 13th century to celebrate 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.
On Sunday, November 1st, we will celebrate these significant days in the liturgical calendar.