For the last several years, I have been intrigued and increasingly drawn to the idea of a Hallowtide or the Fall Triduum (All Hallow’s Eve, and the Feast of All Saints, and All Souls). These days usher in the waning days of the season of Pentecost as we move closer and closer to Christ the King Sunday, the liturgical marker of the eschaton—the culmination of God’s dream of reconciling all things in Christ. As the spring Triduum (Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter) reveals the thin place of new things happening, new life, and resurrection, the Fall Triduum reveals the thin space of reflecting on our own mortality, celebrating and mourning those who have gone before us, and gently gathering all of the past into God’s loving embrace. It is a thin time when we are invited to become more keenly aware of the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, and to see ourselves gathered at the same table with them. In numerous cultural traditions, these days are a time to welcome loved ones back, to draw closer to them, and to remember that someday we will all be united again in Christ.
Part of our traditions here at All Saints is to have your loved ones remembered by inscribing their names in the Book of Remembrance for the Feast of All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls (Nov.2). Some also make a contribution to the Flower Fund at this time. I encourage you to continue that practice, you can request to have names added by visiting our website. I’m also inviting us to expand our practices this year in several concrete ways. In addition to the Book of Remembrance the resting chapel will be home to an “altar of remembrance.” This is a spot for you to bring in and place small photos or mementos of your loved ones. The photos and other mementos you bring in will remain in the church until 11/23, and will serve as a visual reminder that our communities, and our Christian care and concern extends much further than simply those gathered here on Saturday and Sunday. The altar of remembrance will be set up in time for All Saints, but feel free to add items to it throughout the month of November.
In addition, there will be a table with votive candles for you to light near the columbarium. The lighting of candles as a form of prayer is practiced in many religious traditions including in numerous Episcopal churches. There are times in my own prayer life when words simply do not suffice. At those times a brief moment of silent prayer followed by the action of lighting a candle allows me do something tangible—to feel those prayers the Spirit prays in us with groans too deep for words.
During these weeks we will also be using Prayer D from the Book of Common Prayer. Prayer D is drawn from the Divine Liturgy of St. Basil (ca. 370). In its main substance it is authorized by more Christian denominations (East and West) than any other prayer—another reminder of our ultimate unity. And, as is common in Eastern prayers, intercessions are included in the body of the prayer, thus the Necrology on All Saints will be read at the altar in the context of the Eucharistic prayer. Another reminder that in the fullness of time we are all—those past, present, and yet to come—gathered around the altar for the Eucharist.
Things you’re invited to do or try this season:
- Make a list of those you wish to remember and send it along with any donation for flowers you’d like to make. Checks should be written to All Saints Parish, with “Flower Fund” in the memo line. Mail them to the church (attn: Flower Fund) or drop them off at the church. Deadline: Monday October 27th.
- Bring in a photo or memento of a deceased loved one (deceased pets and companion animals are welcome as well) and place it on the Altar of Remembrance. (Please be sure your name is somewhere on the item).
- Light a candle at the votive stand near the columbarium. Please use the tapers provided. Light the taper from one of the already lit candles, light one of your own, then extinguish the taper.
For a further reflection on the Hallowtide or the Fall Triduum see The Rev. Laurie Brock’s recent post