All Saints’ Day feels particularly personal to me this year,
having lost my father just a couple of weeks ago.
I am sad that I no longer experience his physical presence,
and I celebrate the constant support he gave me,
the ways he taught me to work hard and be curious,
the delight he showed in the creative antics of my son,
and his goofy sense of humor.
I’m sure the observance of All Saints’ Day is particularly poignant for others, too.
May we be confident in our loved ones’ eternal rest in your peaceful presence, God.
May your comfort surround those who mourn.
And may we give thanks for the ways our lives have been shaped
by the departed:
blood and chosen family members,
role models (whether we knew them personally or not),
people who made our world better by their contributions to it,
advocates on our behalf,
those who introduced us to new places or interests,
all who let us know we were seen and valued.
Though these people have joined the cloud of witnesses,
their legacy surrounds and strengthens us
so that we can live purposefully as those
who will someday be someone else’s saint,
one whose witness will be celebrated and carried on.
We give you thanks for life in this realm,
for the invitation and opportunity to make an impact on others in the course of it,
and for the promise of the life to come in your reign of love.
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 eight-year-old son. She blogs weekly at laurastephensreed.com.
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