The message waiting light was flashing yesterday afternoon when we arrived home from Columbia. A colleague needed to arrange supply coverage for tonight's All Saints' Day liturgy. At the time we talked he wasn't certain he would need to be away, but he wanted to have everything ready if he did. So, I agreed to be on call and began thinking through a sermon.
A flood of memory. A long night. And, that hymn* -- William Walsham How's words and Ralph Vaughan Williams' music, Sine Nomine -- that monumental, soaring hymn in my head.
All Saints' Day, the day the church has set aside to commemorate and remember "all the saints, who from their labors rest." For years and years that list, my personal list, has included four grandparents and an array of people, family and friends alike, who played a part in my life during their days. I always listed them for the prayers offered during liturgy. I always let mind have free reign, recalling each one, a sweet and sad process on November 1st.
This year I added too many names to my list, among them my father. He rests from his labor this All Saints' Day and I miss him.
I just heard from my colleague. He's going to be able to officiate tonight. The sermon doesn't need to be finished. But, my remembering can go on.
*Hymn #287, The Hymnal 1982, Church Publishing