For all the saints.

Today is All Saints Day in the Church calendar, tomorrow us All Souls Day.

The point of these days, which often fold together, is to remember those who have died and to do so in the context of their faith and God’s faithfulness.

Hebrews 11 is, for me, a great model of how to remember those who are gone. They lived in anticipation of what had been promised but hadn’t happened yet. They died in the confident anticipation that God would do what was promised. They are a crowd of witnesses, like bleachers at the end of a marathon full of the people who have already completed the race and are watching and cheering and weeping with an understanding of the pain and the purpose. And God is present always: making the promise, keeping the promise, participating in the race, providing the strength and breath.

All Saints says that we are part of a bigger story; their lives mattered and matter, our life matters, God matters.

There is, of course, nothing in the Bible that says we have to keep All Saints Day, just as there is nothing that says we have to remember Memorial Day in churches, or Father’s Day. But there is value in remembering the whole church, past and present, transcending national and tribal boundaries.

Some churches list the names of people from their midst who have died in the course of the past year. They do it now, rather than at the end of the calendar year. If we did that where I’m a hospital chaplain, there would be a long list.

November begins winding down Ordinary time, the longest part of the church year. The longest part of life. We remember our grief as we move into the deepening dark. But we also remember the God who sustains them and sustains us. And we are looking forward to Advent, to the beginning of the church year, to remembering the first coming of Jesus as we anticipate the second coming and the end of the beginning of the story.


Giving the Year Meaning: A Healing Journal for Advent is a journal that walks you through Advent with reflections and activities designed to help you find meaning and healing. Rather than wise sayings or interesting stories, this is daily questions and writing spaces that will invite you to reflect on things we may have missed during the year and then take steps to remember and recover those things.

The journal runs from November 28 through December 31, one entry every day. To allow the same journal to be used for several years, there are Sunday readings separate from the daily activities.