Warm Reminder: This Sunday as we change the clocks back, Our Spirit of Life Eucharist time moves to 4pm on Sundays through the winter months until we change the clocks again in March. We hope you are able to join us this Sunday as we Celebrate All Saints/All Souls. We invite you to bring pictures of loved ones who have touched your life and shaped your heart and enter their names into our Book of Remembrance. All are welcome!
Dear Holy Ones of The Spirit of Life,
St Paul began his letters "To the holy ones of the church of Ephesus/Philippi/Colossae And so we begin: to all the holy ones of the Church of The Spirit of Life!
This Feast of All Saints & All Souls is our feast for we are “beloved of God and called to be holy.” Holy ones are not just in monasteries or convents there are all around us, they are us. In this vein, we remember St Therese of Lisieux and Mother Teresa who both talked about doing with great love all the little things that we do--that is what makes us holy.
We also invite you to reflect on whose shoulders you stand: who has touched your life and inspired you to be who you are or called forth the best in you. Two of our favorite writers Joyce Rupp and Jan Richardson. moved us with their reflection on these special days; we share their inspirations with you. Joyce offers questions that might inform your meditation on these holy ones who have touched your life in preparation for our Sunday Eucharist in which we will do a Reading of remembrance recalling these your loved ones. We will also sing the Litany of the Saints joining in solidarity the holy ones who inspire our lives. Joyce reflects:
Let us draw near this month to those whose presence has gifted us in memorable ways. Probably not many people have this intimate connection in mind when praying The Litany of Saints which addresses designated holy ones. Yet those very requests invite a relationship with the saints—"pray for us, hear us, be with us, reassure us.” We encourage a similar connection when remembering valued relatives, teachers, guides and mentors. When I journey back in my personal history, I am awed by how many persons touched my life—a great aunt whose generous, nonjudgmental love taught me the value of kindness, my second grade teacher who inspired me to approach prayer as a personal relationship, the college professor who asked me the surprising question that led to my entering a religious community, the friend whose compassion resurrected my joy—on and on the memories flow, and with them comes an ever fuller amazement and appreciation.
This month: Find a quiet spot of solitude where you can gather treasured memories of the wise ones, the truth-tellers and shapers-of-heart, who have influenced your life.
- · Whose wisdom significantly marks the path of life you have taken?
- · Who stood by you and moved you through troublesome times?
- · Whose spirituality or theology has guided and grounded your own?
- · Who brought you steadfast love and indelible acceptance?
- · Who inspired and encouraged you to believe in your abilities?
You might conclude this treasury of remembrance by listening to Jan Phillips’ song “Candles in the Night” in which she addresses those who have gone before us.
We miss you since you left us, though we’re glad you’ve been set free;
The light of you is still around, it’s right here in the breeze.
There’s so much left to share with you, we’ll find another way
to keep you in our hearts from day to day.
Your spirit’s here inside us, like candles in the night,
so take your wings and fly into the light.
Jan Richardson offers us a reflection on these special days and a blessing-prayer:
“Now he is God not of the dead, but of the living;
for to him all of them are alive.”
I have long loved this trinity of days we are moving into: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls. They are a thin place in the turning of the year, a space where a door opens between worlds that often seem terribly far apart. In the wake of Gary's death, this time of year has become especially tender and hopeful for me. More than ever, I am grateful for these days that invite us to remember that, in the body of Christ, death does not release us from being in relationship with one another.
As we enter into these days, I want to share this blessing with you again. It's one I wrote shortly before (my husband) Gary's death, not knowing how much I would need it for myself, and how soon. But that's how a blessing works: it moves within time and also beyond it, spiraling around to meet us in the ways we most need.
Wherever these days find you, I pray they will hold deep grace, wondrous solace, and a thin place where heaven and earth meet.
God of the Living
When the wall
between the worlds
is too firm,
When it seems
and sharp edges.
When every morning
you wake as if
flattened against it,
its forbidding presence
fairly pressing the breath
all over again.
Then may you be given
of how weak the wall
and how strong what stirs
on the other side,
breathing with you
and blessing you
forever bound to you
but freeing you
into this living,
into this world
so much wider
than you ever knew.
from The Cure for Sorrow: A Book of Blessings for Times of Grief
At The Spirit of Life, we work together in prayer and companionship to loosen the attitudes and brokenness which can hold us bound. We believe that God’s desire for us is that we be “Whole” and thus “Holy”… full of life , unfettered by life-destroying prejudices and free to move openly as the Spirit calls us. Our belief in the sacredness of all created beings and loving relationships compels us to respond with care and compassion to all who are marginalized in our church and world. We invite you to come and to pray with us as we “do our own work” in growing into a deeper awareness of our own gifts and ‘growing edges’ and together create a community that invites diversity and honors the uniqueness of each individual and every journey. We are confident that you will feel welcome in the “home” of The Spirit of Life.
Praying for you the blessings of breathing together, con-spiring as we become what we pray,
Ron & Jean