When I was a baby,
my grandmother started an add-a-pearl necklace for me.
Each year she’d gift me with a tiny new pearl
and have the chain restrung.
Somehow, I ended up with more pearls
than years our lives overlapped.
Last weekend I wore my necklace
as my brother,
surrounded by a handful of family,
wed his love
and gave his new stepdaughter
her first three add-a-pearls.
I could almost hear my grandmother’s full-throated laugh of delight
at the whole scene.
This weekend, God,
we remember before you all the saints
who have given us their pearls of wisdom,
whose cumulative impact is more than we can make sense of,
whose spirit is still with us even though their bodies are not.
Thank you for ways you have loved and shaped us through them.
May we honor their legacy with all we say and do.
God, as the church observes All Saints’ Day,
I pray especially for the ministers and loved ones
who will light candles on Sunday
on behalf of people
whose funerals were postponed or restricted
because of Covid-19.
Their grief has been complicated – even compounded –
by the inability to share tears and hugs with those who get it.
Assure them that nothing and no one is lost in your economy.
Inspire them to live in ways that incorporate all the good
that comes from having been linked to your saints.
Wrap them in the warmth of memories.
In the hope of your peace
and the belief that we are surrounded
by so great a cloud of witnesses I pray. Amen.
Laura Stephens-Reed is a clergy and congregational coach working with ministers and churches across the ecumenical spectrum. Having served in a variety of pastoral roles and denominations, she is primarily affiliated with the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and has ministerial standing in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Based in northwest Alabama (United States), Laura is married to a United Methodist pastor, and they have a seven-year-old son. She blogs weekly at laurastephensreed.com.
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