This coming weekend is likely to be a busy one in most liturgical churches, I guess…In the valley and on the hill, we will keep All Saints on Sunday morning, but move to the more reflective and elegaic tone of All Souls in the afternoon, as we welcome back families we’ve met through funeral ministry…and on Monday there will be the full All Souls Requiem for the departed. I know that in some places, the focus of All Saints carries within it all the faithful departed, the saints of our own communities – and that might be something to work with in preaching.
Of course, you could be using the provision for Proper B26, which would take you to some quite different place in your preaching.
I don’t want to conflate the two festivals of All Saints and All Souls (though the lectionary seems intent on encouraging this), but having preached the Revelation 21 reading at at least three of my recent tide of funerals there is alot I could say about John’s wonderful vision of restoration and new hope, of the water of life pouring out for the thirsty…But there is a huge attraction in preaching Isaiah, with his promise of a feast for all people, – presaged as it is by the Eucharist. I might, perhaps, simply tell the story of my First Mass, of that sense that when we reached the Sanctus I was joined at the altar by all my own communion of saints, those whom I’d known and loved, and those from long ago whose lives and words had encouraged me on my journey. I might invite my congregation to pause and reflect on those with whom they are connected as the priest says
“Therefore with angels, and archangels and all the company of heaven…”
In fact, at church in the valley it’s an All Age Sunday, so we might just find ourselves dishing out endless cardboard halos with the reminder that we are all called to saints…but there must be some better ideas.
Over to you, my friends.