After one of our services this past Sunday, a parishioner kindly pointed out that my sermon conflated two of the feast days in our liturgical calendar: The Feast of All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day. (I’m often learning from members of our church family!) Here’s a helpful summary of these two important days:
Following All Saints’ Day (November 1) is All Souls’ Day (November 2). While the former focuses on those saints whose work and witness impacted the history of the larger church body, the latter is dedicated to the quiet and obscure, those whose faithful, ordinary lives have built up our own lives and our local churches.
[All Souls’ Day] is a day set aside to remember those “ordinary saints” whose life and witness deeply touched our own. Different from a day of mourning, our remembrance calls to mind the hope of the resurrection, both theirs and ours, and gives thanks for their faithful testimony.
On Monday I also had another thought I want to add to my sermon. After reading Ephesians 1:15-22, I explained that Paul prays earnestly that we will come to an experiential knowledge of three things as saints: hope, God’s delight, and power. It is also important to recognize how we come to such an experiential knowledge! It’s not an experience we generate out of our own effort.
Working backwards from verse 18 into verse 17, notice that the “eyes of our hearts” are “enlightened” as the Father gives us the gift “of the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge” of Jesus. Nothing of our own doing! Once again we learn it’s all the Father’s grace, flowing from knowing Jesus, and receiving and responding to the Holy Spirit. This is why “spiritual disciplines” are so important – practices, patterns, and rhythms that create space in our hearts, minds, and schedules to be aware of and responsive to God’s presence and movement in our lives.
Please pray for the men who are going on retreat this weekend to participate in such a space. About thirty of us will be away Friday through Sunday for this annual time together. Pastor Sallie will lead both services on Sunday, our weekly opportunity for being together with God. And be sure to set your clocks ahead an hour Saturday night, or you’ll end up with an extra hour of prayer before the service begins!
Your Pastor in Christ,