The Faithful Departed

On November 1st the church celebrates “All Saints Day”, we remember, in a special way, the souls of the faithful departed; those we have commended to God and have asked God to take care of. In a way, this time of remembering and prayer, puts into practise what the church calls the “Communion of Saints” – the understanding that those who have died, and those who live on earth, are united together in the life and love of God. Death has taken from us those we love, and yet, in the communion of all the Saints, there can be no real separation from those who have died in the grace of God. The bond of love continues to unite us, holding the people of earth and the people of heaven in one loving embrace.

As we remember, at this time, those we love who have died, we give thanks for the good things; the positive ways they influenced us, the love we shared, and the times of joy and peace. And as we look back with thanksgiving so too do we acknowledge the sadness, anger and loneliness we feel. We grieve because our loved ones have gone physically from our lives. But our loss is not loss without hope – because we have the hope of the resurrection. God’s will is not death but life. God too cries at the pain and suffering death causes and the whole of the New Testament can be seen as God overcoming death and bring eternal life. God loves us and Jesus died so that we, and all the saints, may have eternal life.

We remember those who have enriched our lives with love and beauty, kindness and compassion, thoughtfulness and understanding. And we seek the strength and insight borne of faith, believing that we are united with them, in the communion of saints and will, one day, share with them in glory.