All Souls – Monday 2nd November 2020

Today, November 2nd is All Souls Day – a feast chosen by the Church to emphasise the eternal and hopeful dimensions of yesterday’s celebrations of All Saints Day.

In a nutshell, All Souls Day intones that the joy of the Christian community extends beyond death to embrace even the company of the dead. It is designed to palliate our anxieties by rekindling our affections for our dearly departed.

We are to (quite literally) re-member them and reconnect with all that we cherish of their lives.

The suggestion, of course, is that by faith every life endures. It implies that our lives continue to have meaning even long after we are dead. We are to grasp the peculiar hope of all Christians: that we live, move and have our being in a bowel of faith anchored on the resurrection power of God. In this inexhaustible bowel of faith, we have access to all the hope and love we may ever need, to look beyond our present needs (whether founded on current health, political, socio-economic and cultural crises) onto a glorious future.

Today we are called to engage with the mystery of Jesus’ words of comfort to Mary and Martha:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” – John 11.25-26

(And may we like Martha be given to respond: “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.” – John 11.27)

Above all, on this Feast of All Souls (and in all our seasons of grief and anxiety) may we also find grace to pray that, in the last day, when Christ gathers up all things in Himself, we may with all the faithful departed come to enjoy the fullness of God’s promises.

But there’s one other thing I remember,

and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:

GOD’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,

his merciful love couldn’t have dried up.

They’re created new every morning.

How great your faithfulness!

I’m sticking with GOD (I say it over and over).

He’s all I’ve got left.

GOD proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,

to the woman who diligently seeks.

It’s a good thing to quietly hope,

quietly hope for help from GOD.

It’s a good thing to quietly hope,

quietly hope for help from GOD.

– Lamentations 3.21-26

Let us pray:

Almighty and eternal God,
you have kindled the flame of love in the hearts of the saints:
grant to us the same faith and power of love,
that, as we rejoice in their triumphs,
we may be sustained by their example and fellowship;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.