All saints

Call to worship and pastoral prayer

by Nancy Hastings Sehested

Today we observe All Saints, a tender time for the church to remember the saints who have died, and whose lives live in us still.

As part of my own spiritual practice, I read obituaries and eulogies. And have written quite a few eulogies in my ministry.

It is a practice that reminds me that death is a part of life. It is a way to keep choosing to live fully even as I am dying certainly. It places me in the river that flows with a life in love that knows no end.

All Saints is a time to illumine the mystery of the communion of saints.

Death has its day. It ends a life but not a relationship. Our grief ebbs and flows, but grief never ends.

Neither does our communion with the saints.

Something of their essence still flows through us.

Something of their life lives in us.

Something of their courage and endurance empowers us still.

And maybe in the mystery, they carry something of us in them, still speaking to us . . . still teaching us, loving us . . . pouring hope into us.

Today you’re invited to name saints. Pick up a leaf. Say their name. and place it on the table, a table where they are still missed, and yet a table in which through the mysteries of God’s love everlasting they sit at the table with us.

Pastoral Prayer

 Thank you God, for the shaping from the saints in our lives…for the foolish and the wise ones, the serious and the silly ones, the reserve and the overbearing ones, the mischievous and the obedient ones . . . lives whose presence have broadened and enriched our own.

Free us from regrets by your grace.

Strengthen us by the witness of your hope-bearing and love-embracing saints before us.

May these days make saints of all of us in perseverance in the struggles, in resistance to evil, in reliance on your Spirit.

After Tuesday, may we pick up where we never left off . . . feeding the hungry, teaching and tending the children, listening to the lonely, comforting the brokenhearted, healing the sick, raising all those who are dead and disheartened in spirit.

After Tuesday, may we be found among that countless number who still practice the politics of praise for your creation, and who have always made art of your divine deal of reconciliation.

After Tuesday, may we be counted among that number who still lives for your great dreams for humanity again and again and again . . . bolstered by the resolve that we are stronger together when we sacrifice together for the common wealth, the common good, the common cause of justice and peace.

After Tuesday, may you still find us with Jesus, walking unafraid, unfaltering . . . undone only by your Spirit swirling in and around us all.

After Tuesday, may we be convinced more deeply than ever that nothing, neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from your love.

Through the Christ of love, we pray and pray and pray. Amen.

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