Dear Friends in Christ—
What are the names you say in your head?
We all have those names, during the prayers of the people, that are right at the top of our heads. The friend who is going through a divorce. The aunt in hospice. The neighbor in chemo. They are the people who feel as if they have been entrusted to us.
Perhaps the most powerful of these intercessions are the names of those who have died. There are three or four names that are almost always in my mind. My two grandmothers, who helped form my faith, are chief among them. But when a loss is recent, it also feels important, sometimes urgent, to name it before God. I hold my grief out alongside love and care for the person whom I have lost.
November is the month that many cultures remember the dead. In the church, it is the month that we celebrate All Saints Day, honoring all those who have lit the way of faith before us.
I know that at Grace Church before the pandemic, the custom was to pray for the dead at a requiem eucharist once a month. As a step towards resuming that practice, I would like us on All Saints Sunday to pray for those who have died in the past year. The 5:00 p.m. service will be a requiem eucharist, with quiet music and candlelight, providing space to honor and mourn love ones we have lost.
All are welcome to attend the service, of course, but I especially I invite you if you have lost someone precious to you in the past year. And whether you can attend or not, I invite you to submit names to the parish office for inclusion in the prayers in the service.
One of the most powerful practices that we have—as Christians, as human beings—is naming. We name what we love. And we name what we have lost. I invite you to bring these names before God, for their honor and for our healing.
Yours in Christ,