Each year, on the Sunday following The Feast of All Saints, in the time normally given to a homily, we remember all who have died in the past one hundred and thirty-two years throughout the history of St. Andrew. It is a tradition made possible by technology. Like the credits following a film, hundreds of names pass before our eyes in a litany of remembrance. Following the presentation there is a sense of awe as the people with whom life was shared, and now separated by death, are drawn together again in the sanctuary on the Feast of All Saints.
It is a powerful act to remember the beloved dead in the context of sacred ritual. Their lives, their contributions, the myriad of memories return simply by seeing their name scrolled before your eyes. A person’s name, spelled out to see, becomes a sacrament. It is the physical manifestation of the immense invisible grace, love, and dignity that was a person’s life. Beholding the multitude of names representing over a century of shared and inherited parish community, is a holy and profound moment.
It is healthy and transformative spirituality that remains in communion with those who have walked and lived before us even while being fully present in the time that is ours. Everything we have and experience is because of the prayers and work of those who have gone before us. It is important to remember those who have given their lives, either as teachers and parents or for heroic social change. Our own lives and society become more significant and precious when we remember the sacrifices, the investments, the hard work, and even the martyred lives of persons who lived the lives of faith, hope, and love in their own day.
Let the days of November be filled with a sense of gratitude and awe for all the saints whose lives were lived so that our lives could be better. They inspire us, they enrich us, and they pray for us. Still.