“Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son, Christ our Lord.” Found in the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, I love the imagery of us being knitted together – all believers of all places and times – in the one body of Christ.
As we worshipped yesterday, we gathered, remembering those who have died from this life. As we read names aloud, we took time to reflect. We reflect not only on those who have died in our church but on all of those who have come before us.
Our small group that meets with members of the Peacehaven Farm community reflected last week through a sharing of images and stories of those we’ve loved and lost. It was a beautiful and holy space as photos were shared, stories told, words spoken about those whose lives and faith had shaped and formed each of us. From parents and grandparents who died a few decades ago to those who died this past year, from those who died after a long life to those who were gone too soon, it was a gift to remember and a gift to share. It was a gift to glimpse how the Spirit knits us together in Christ.
As the heaviness of grief in our community and our world through the tragedies of the past year and a half sit on our hearts, I invite us to take a moment and breathe. I invite us to take a moment and remember. I invite us to think of those stories, of those lives that are knitted to ours. I invite us to know, whether we can feel it right now or not, we are not alone, but held in the palm of God’s hand. We are loved. I invite you to pray, resting in God’s abundant grace.
“God of the ages, we praise you for all your servants, who have done justice, loved mercy, and walked humbly with their God. For apostles and martyrs and saints of every time and place, who in life and death have witnessed to your truth, we praise you, O God.
For all your servants who have faithfully served you, witnessed bravely, and died in faith, who still are shining lights in the world, we praise you, O God.
For those no longer remembered, who earnestly sought you in darkness, who held fast their faith in trial, and served others, we praise you, O God.
For those we have known and loved, who by their faithful obedience and steadfast hope, have shown the same mind that was in Christ Jesus, we praise you, O God.
Keep us grateful for their witness, and, like them, eager to follow in the way of Christ. Then at the last, bring us with them to share in the inheritance of the saints in light; through Jesus Christ the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”
— PCUSA Book of Common Worship
While just beginning to get to know you all, I give thanks for each of you, as we, together, are the body, the Church. It is a gift to walk alongside you all, glimpsing the Spirit’s presence at work. And, as you take a moment to remember, if you have a story you’d like to share, feel free to reach out and I would be honored to listen.