Sunday, November 1, 2009

Celebrating the Feast of All Saints

Last week, I enjoyed creating a post that suggested ways to celebrate Reformation Sunday. So, today, let me write a post that suggests ways to celebrate All Saints. Of course, being Lutheran, I think the best way is to go to church--and hopefully, you'll find a church that is doing something special. In the past few years, I've gone to Lutheran churches that did a butterfly release or did something special in a garden. But even the most traditional church should be celebrating All Saints' Sunday today--well, at least the high church ones (Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Episcopalian). My friend tells me that Presbyterians and Baptists would have no such Catholic-like celebrations in churches she's attended. More's the pity . . .

So, if you're cast adrift, here are some ways to commemorate the souls who have gone on before us to Eternal Peace.

--Plant some flowers. In many parts of the United States, now would be a great time to plant bulbs. Then in the spring, you'll have an additional treat. Over at LutheranChik's blog, she writes a moving post about planting daffodils for All Saints on the graves of her family members.

--Take a page out of the book of our Hispanic brothers and sisters. Prepare a picnic to share with the dead. Make some special sweet treats. This website has all sorts of interesting pages: recipes, photos of altars, information . . .

--For information about the Catholic approach to this day, including images and prayers, go to this website.

--Make something with the herb rosemary, traditionally used as a symbol of remembrance. How about a chicken, roasted with rosemary, lemon, and garlic? Vegetarians can make a tasty bean soup with the same trio of rosemary, lemon, and garlic--add several cans of beans (whirled up in the blender, if you prefer a thicker soup) to your pot of rosemary, lemon, and garlic, and you've got an easy delicious soup. Throw in some steamed carrot pieces for an even more nutritious soup.

--Remember your family stories. Even more important, start writing them down. You won't remember them forever. And there will be younger generations who will be starving for those stories. If you write them in a blog, hopefully, they'll be there forever.

--Write your living older family members a note or a card. Some day, you'll remember them on this feast day. Write them a note of appreciation now, while they are alive to appreciate your gratitude.

--Think about the saints that aren't related to you. Who has served as an example to you as a way to live your life? How can you follow that example?

--Here are the readings from the Common Lectionary for this day:

First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9
First Reading (Alt.): Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9
Psalm: Psalm 24
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6
Gospel: John 11:32-44

The prayer book that I use, The Divine Hours series by Phyllis Tickle, includes these readings:

Revelation 7: 9-17
Psalm 15

Here are two prayers from that book:

"May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

"Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give me grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that I may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen."

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