Grace and peace to each one of you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
As many of you know, All Saints Day is on November 1, but many of us are observing All Saints Day today, which, coincidentally, is Halloween, October 31. On All Saints Sunday, we honor the lives of our loved ones who have died over this past year. At the same time, we also remember those around the world who have been affected by COVID. As of September 17, there have been a total of 227,054,671
cases of COVID reported worldwide since the outbreak of the Pandemic. In addition, there have 4,670,244 deaths of children, youth, women, and men. We grieve the loss of every life because each individual is precious in God’s sight. And we remember that what affects one affects all of us.
As the seasons change, the air becomes crisp, and the leaves change and fall to the ground, we receive with quiet joy the gift of magnificent colors. At the same time, with so many losses, and when many are still isolated from their loved ones, we are reminded of the importance of letting go of what we want and thinking about what is best for everyone. For we are all part of one human family, intertwined with one another. The apostle Paul reminds us, “For I am sure that nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ Jesus our Lord: not death or life, not angels or rulers, not present things or future things, not powers or height or depth, or any other thing that is created.”
On this All Saints Sunday, as we continue to follow the necessary protocols to protect the health of all of God’s children, we also ask for God’s grace to guide us in the days ahead. Let us pray.
We give you thanks, O God, for all the saints who ever worshiped you
Whether in brush arbors or cathedrals,
Weathered wooden churches or crumbling cement meeting houses
Where your name was lifted and adored.
We give you thanks, O God, for hands lifted in praise:
Manicured hands and hands stained with grease or soil,
Strong hands and those gnarled with age,
Holy hands used as wave offerings across the land.
We thank you, God, for hardworking saints;
Whether hard-hatted or steel-booted,
Head ragged or aproned,
Blue-collared or three-piece-suited
They left their mark on the earth for you, for us, and for our children to come.
Thank you, God, for the tremendous sacrifices made by those who have gone before us.
Bless the memories of your saints, God.
May we learn how to walk wisely from their examples of faith, dedication, worship, and love. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen.
Prayer by Safiyah Fosua, UMC Discipleship