Time to Get Ready for All Saints Day

Many hands make light work

Many hands have gone before

All Saints Day is November 1st but many churches will celebrate on Sunday November 3rd. Remembering those who impact our lives, those who have gone before and those who are still with us is an important part of our faith.

The Episcopal Church website explains:

We step aside from the flow of the propers and celebrate all the saints. We stop. We notice, We are surrounded by a flock of witnesses in our midst – many who have gone before us, some we are just now releasing, and still more with a full life ahead of them.

I love the Anglican tradition of renewing our baptismal vows on this day. Reminding ourselves of the journey we have taken personally is a good place to start in remembering the saints of God. In this tradition, all baptized Christians, living and dead known and unknown are considered saints of God. This means everyone including ourselves.

So as you get ready for All Saints Day think about your own faith journey. Remember the faithfulness of God in your past. Notice the movement of God in the present. Think about your hopes and dreams for the future. Get ready to celebrate all that you are as a saint of God.

But don’t stop there. This is a special day for celebrating. Here are some suggestions:

St Aidan’s Episcopal church on Camano Island where we worshipped yesterday is planning a special “remembering” table that will be set up in the nave. The congregation is invited to bring photos or small memorabilia of dear ones who have gone before us and place them on the table. During the worship on All Saint’s Day there will be a special blessing of the photos and memories.

Hold an All Saints’ Day party – a great alternative to Halloween. Get everyone to dress as their favourite saint, or to bring a picture of this saint. During the festivities get everyone to share a story about their saint and the impact he or she has had on their lives. Or you might like to get participants to guess who each person represents.

Plan a family heritage party. Invite people to do some work beforehand researching their family history and particularly the Christian saints who were a part of it.  Ask them to bring photos and stories to share.  Finish with a time of prayer for all those that have gone before us.

Several years ago when my youngest brother went to Greece where my father comes from he found out that it is possible that our family name Aroney comes from the name Aaron and that our family probably originated in Jerusalem many centuries ago.  It is probable that one of the reason they began the journey out of Jerusalem first to Constantinople then to Rhodes and finally to the tiny island of Kithera at the bottom of the Peloponnese mountains is because they became Christians.  There are a number of Greek orthodox priests in my father’s family history and my Aunt Mary was a very devout Greek Orthodox Christian.   I know less about my mother’s family history but would love to find out where her family too has had profound encounters with God.

Plan an All Saints Day pilgrimage. Again this might require some before time research.  Explore the Christian heritage of your community.  Where did the first Christians come from?  How did they interact with the native peoples?  Where was the first church established?  Who were some of the early Christians who impacted your community.  Plan a pilgrimage walk to the site of the first Christian community and if possible have a time of prayer and possibly even a eucharistic celebration to remember those who have gone before.

What are your ideas for celebrating All Saints Day this year? It is a great alternative to Halloween and we would love to hear what you are doing.

Here are some other posts I have written on All Saints Day that you might enjoy.

Coming Home for All Saints Day

Freeing the Saints from Their Hallmark Holidays

Surrounded by Prophetic Voices – Clouds of Witnesses that Call Us Out of Numbness

A Prayer for All Saints Eve

 

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Scratch Liturgy

Creativity here we come

No this is not about getting rid of liturgy – this a very creative idea from my friends Chrissie and Gerard Kelly at Bless in France is about a collaborative effort in creating liturgy

scratch a collaborative liturgy with your friends or small group…

1. Write a communal refrain to speak out together. For example,

‘this is our story. this is our song. praising our Saviour. all the day long’

2. Come up with a one-line framework for people to ‘scratch’ around. For example,

‘Because He is (something), I am (something)’

3. On a flip chart or live projection write out numbers 1 to 5 followed by the communal refrain. Followed by numbers 6 to 10 and the refrain again and so on.

4. Invite participants to take it in turn ‘scratching’ a one-line prayer using your framework

5. Read the scratch liturgy aloud together

Example scratch liturgies can be found here and here.

Looking for Harvest Prayers – Try these

Carrying wheat to church

Lots of people are looking for resources for harvest festivals and worship services. Here are some I have found recently that might be of use.

1. I have just discovered this excellent list of harvest resources from Christian Concern for One World and thought that some of you might be interested. The organization is based in the UK so the resources all come from there but It gives some great suggestions for us to consider no matter where in the world we are.

2. Lord’s Prayer has some good resources from both Catholic and Anglican traditions as well as some prayers and craft suggestions for children.

3. My friend John Birch at Faith and Worship has this resource list as well as this great Harvest Thanksgiving liturgy. 

4. This resource is from 2007 but I still think it has great relevance

Or perhaps you might like to use this beautiful prayer of Gerald Manley Hopkins

SUMMER ends now; now, barbarous in beauty, the stooks arise
Around; up above, what wind-walks! what lovely behaviour
Of silk-sack clouds! has wilder, wilful-wavier
Meal-drift moulded ever and melted across skies?

I walk, I lift up, I lift up heart, eyes,
Down all that glory in the heavens to glean our Saviour;
And, éyes, heárt, what looks, what lips yet gave you a
Rapturous love’s greeting of realer, of rounder replies?

And the azurous hung hills are his world-wielding shoulder
Majestic—as a stallion stalwart, very-violet-sweet!
These things, these things were here and but the beholder
Wanting; which two when they once meet,
The heart rears wings bold and bolder
And hurls for him, O half hurls earth for him off under his feet.

–Gerard Manley Hopkins

 

Soil Sacrament and Harvest

Abundant tomatoes for BLTs and salads

Abundant tomatoes for BLTs and salads

It is harvest season. I am frantically drying, preserving and freezing the abundance of apples from our trees, making green smoothies from the delicious salad greens and indulging in wonderful tomato salads and sandwiches.  It seems fitting that I am in the midst of reading Fred Bahnson’s delightful memoir Soil and SacramentI was particularly struck this morning my his comment:

Our ecological problems are a result of having forgotten who we are – soil people, inspired by the breath of God… in St Augustine’s phrase, terra animata – animated earth.

Drying apples

Drying apples

So as we contemplate this day and this season may we indeed remember who we are and who God has made us to be. Last year I wrote this liturgy for the harvest season. I decided I could not improve on it this year so add it again here as a way to draw all of us into the blessings of this season.

God we thank you for a harvest of plenty,

Small seeds that multiply to feed many,

Trees that blossom and produce abundant fruit,

Tomatoes that ripen on the vine with sweet flavour.

God we thank you for abundance overflowing,

Enough for our own needs and an abundance to share,

Enough to feed the hungry and provide for the destitute,

Enough to reach out with generosity and care. 

God we thank you for seeds you have planted in our hearts,

Seeds of righteousness yielding goodness and mercy,

Seeds of love yielding justice and peace,

Seeds of compassion yielding healing and renewal.

God we thank you for the bread of heaven,

Christ our saviour planted in our lives,

Christ our redeemer growing in our hearts,

Christ your Son making us one with you.

God we thank you for the gift of life,

Like water poured out on thirsty ground,

Spring and autumn rains that revive and bring life,

A river that flows from your heart and out into the world you love.

Amen

Preserving the harvest - Canning Tomatoes

Preserving the harvest – Canning Tomatoes

For other posts on harvest season you like might to see:

2011 I wrote this reflection: The Harvest is Plentiful But the Labourers are Few;

2010 I posted this: Praying for an Abundant Harvest

2009 I wrote this litany: God of the Bountiful – A Harvest Prayer

And my first post on this theme in 2008: The Generosity of God – Fish and Loaves for all

 

Prayers for the Journey

The heavens declare your glory,
the seas and everything beneath
speak of your majesty.
From the beauty of a butterfly’s wing
to the roar of a hurricane’s wind
we see through these to the power within.
The heavens declare your glory,
and we your people, gathered here
below, join in their everlasting song.
This world, gifted in love
so we might recognize the hand
that placed it here.
This world, given breath
that we might understand this life
and in love, share.
Posted by John Birch of Faithandworship
May the love of the good God hold us,
May the life of the compassionate Christ fill us,
May the joy of the counselling Spirit guide us,
This day and evermore,
Amen
Christine Sine

I sit in quiet to absorb the wonder of God’s presence.
Forgive me Lord,
For my mind so easily strays.
Have mercy Lord,
For my thoughts are often in chaos.
Grant me peace O Lord,
For distractions call me away.
Cleanse my heart,
Calm my soul,
Free my spirit,
That I may hear and see and know you,
Every moment of the day.
Christine Sine
Father, in your will is our peace.
We accept this new day as your gift, Lord;
grant that we may live in newness of life.
Father, in your will is our peace.
You made all things, and keep all things in being;
give us the insight to see your hand at work in them all.
Father, in your will is our peace.
A prayer for Syria  from the jesuit Post
————————————————————
I thank you Lord
For the wonder of your love,
for the patience of your guidance,
For the glory of your presence.
I thank you Lord
For the many blessings you bestow,
For the lavish provision your provide,
For the unexpected beauty you reveal.
I thank you Lord
You are the God who holds me close,
You are the Christ who renews my life,
You are the Spirit who strengthens my faith,
I thank you Lord
For giving thanks honors you,
It opens the path,
That reveals the salvation of God.
In this new morning, fill us with your love;
we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Give us joy to balance our affliction
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
give success to the work of our hands,
give success to the work of our hands.
————–
Let us open our ears to listen,
so that we can hear God’s heartbeat.
Let us open our eyes to watch,
so that we can see God’s presence.
Let us open our minds to believe,
so that we can embrace God’s ways
Let open our hearts to trust,
so that we can share God’s salvation.
This prayer inspired by Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me O God,
Because of your unfailing love.
O eternal God, O holy One
O God above the heavens and beyond the earth,
Because of your great compassion,
Blot out the stain of my sins.
O merciful God , O incorruptible One,
O wondrous God, creator of the elements,
Wash me clean from my guilt,
Purify me from my sins
O God of the rushing air,
O God of the flowing waves,
O God of all bright stars,
O God of the flaming fire,
Create in me a clean heart
Restore to me the joy of your salvation.
Creator God,
Who formed me in my mother’s womb
Have mercy on me.
Redeemer Christ
Who walks beside me as a friend,
Have mercy on me.
Transformer spirit,
Who leads me into the paths of life,
Have mercy on my.
Triune God,
Creator, redeemer, transformer,
The One who is making all things new,
Have mercy on me.

 

 

A Pentecost Liturgy by John Birch

Today’s Pentecost liturgy is by John Birch whose website Faith and Worship is a great resource for liturgy especially if you are also interested in Celtic spirituality. John is a regular contributor to the Light for the Journey Facebook page.

Spirit

‘And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.’
(Zec 12:10)
‘Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.”‘
(Gal 4:6)

Into your presence we come. Into fellowship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit; Glorious Trinity.
You breathed this world into being. Your creative Spirit is still visible within our everyday lives; through the changing seasons, the colours and sounds of nature, the rhythm of day and night, sunrise and sunset, tide and wind, rain and shine.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit, present in the birth pangs of this world empowered the Prophets
of old, ordinary people called to live extraordinary lives.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit was so visible through the life of your Son, from the moment
of conception to his death and glorious resurrection.
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Your Spirit was the parting gift of Jesus to the world. ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses… to the ends of the earth’
All: Breathe upon our fellowship, Creating Spirit, Creator God

Father, you have gifted us with the power to perform miracles,
to be your witnesses here and to the ends of the earth.
Yet we stand so often with feelings of inadequacy,
fearful of our own failings and sin.
Forgive us when we try and limit your power
and underestimate our own capabilities.
Forgive us when we fail to open our hearts fully
to the working of your Spirit,
when we choose to limit your work in our lives.
Empower us as you did the Prophets of old; embolden us in our witness to our family, our neighbours and all whom we meet.

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our faith might be enriched 

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our lives might be empowered

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That our witness might be emboldened

Fill us with your Spirit
All: That your name might be glorified

‘And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you’
(Rom 8:11)

Show me your ways, O Lord
All: Teach me your paths

Guide me in your truth and teach me
All: for you are God my Saviour, and my hope is in you all day long

Holy Spirit, without your power in the Church today we shall always be weak and ineffective in our mission.
How can the world see you through our lives if they cannot see the power of your love shining through?
How can the world feel your healing touch if we do not know the reality of your presence in our lives?
How can we show a world that is searching where to find spiritual fulfilment
if our lives have not first been made whole?

Holy Spirit, your creative breath is the power in your Church today, Lord. May we know that power in this place and in our lives.
Amen

Read more at: http://www.faithandworship.com/liturgy10.htm#ixzz2TYx0vgMg
Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

Resources for Pentecost 2013

Pentecost icon via Wikimedia

Each year I like to post a new list of resources for special days in the lectionary. Today’s list is an updated resource list for Pentecost.

This is the day when we celebrate:.

  1. The coming of the Holy Spirit and the infilling of Jesus’ disciples with the power to go out and change the world
  2. The great multi cultural gathering that we catch a glimpse of as we watch the spirit fall and suddenly everyone is able to understand each other – not all speaking the same language but able to understand each other in their own languages.  Acts 2:11.
  3. Pentecost is traditionally the time that many churches pray for the peace of our world in which at times there seems to be so little cross cultural understanding.

Last year’s resources focused on visual resources and Christian art that give us images of Jesus from different cultural perspectives.

This year’s list provides some of the best sites I have found from around the world with resources for Pentecost. I would love to expand this list so if you know of other resources that you think should be added and help us to think creatively about this important celebration please let me know.

From Australia & New Zealand

The Billabong

Laughing Bird Liturgical Resources

From Bosco Peters in New Zealand

From South Africa

Sacredise.com always produces wonderful resources

From U.K

Jonny Baker always provides great resources in his worship tricks. You check out the general list for pentecost here.

I particularly like this link to a great Pentecost meditation by Mark Berry.

From Canada

Re-worship  always provides excellent resources and this Pentecost list is no exception

From U.S.

The Text This Week has some of the most comprehensive resource lists around. Their pentecost list is well worth visiting.

Another good list is Resources from the Calvin Institute

And for a short meditation I enjoyed this video by Franklyn Shaefer

From U.S.

A beautiful Pentecost poem from Outside the Box