Posted by: AJtheIrishLass | November 3, 2019

Changed, Not Ended: Some Thoughts on All Saints Sunday

church interior Photo by Thgusstavo Santana on

“Through Jesus Christ our Lord; who rose victorious from the dead, and comforts us with the blessed hope of everlasting life. For to your faithful people, O Lord, life is changed, not ended; and when our mortal body lies in death, there is prepared for us a dwelling place eternal in the heavens. (From the Preface for the Commemoration of the Dead, Book of Common Prayer 1979).

The celebration of All Saints’ bridges any divide between the commemoration of those the Church specifically commemorates as examples to remember, and our departed loved ones who aren’t “official” saints, but no less important to those left behind.

This preface used during the Eucharist/Mass for the departed shows how life’s continuity is important to us as part of the human race. Are we really correct in talking about the end of mortal life as we happen to know it, or how it’s changed? I’ve often thought that it’s no coincidence that commemorations involving the end of the year in many cultures (such as Halloween/Samhain in Celtic cultures) fall at a time of year when the days get shorter and many things in nature “die” off.

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians in 1:11-23 serves as an effective reminder that our places in life’s story don’t end here, and our remembrance of the saints is perfect proof. Life changes all the time, and no one is more aware of that than someone who’s gone through a difficult health challenge or faced exclusion for doing what’s right.

Those of us in the Western world aren’t likely, thankfully, to experience the persecution that’s common in the Middle East and other areas with minimal or no religious freedom. However, that doesn’t make Paul’s words any less timely for the rest of us.

These promises aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be seen as, pie-in-the-sky promises. They are real for us in the here-and-now, too.

The most important thing to remember is that our Redeemer lives – no matter whether we’re facing opposition for what we believe (or don’t believe), a personal crisis, or the loss of a loved one. We have an inheritance to be happy about!


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