How I survived All Saints’ Day with help from an impenetrable fog

The day’s first light disclosed a thick, soupy fog. My initial thought:
Drat! Another bleak, dreary day; so common in autumn around these parts.

The weather matched my mood.

A foggy day on the lake

How appropriate, I thought, for this to be my window-view…

On the day we celebrate “All Saints’ Day” in church – an event that I wasn’t sure I could handle.

But then…

(surprisingly)… upon closer scrutiny of the dark greyness…

I discovered…

amiable beauty in this somber landscape!

Curious coloration.
A softness to edges.
An almost mysterious misty-look.
Peaceful.

So what is All Saints’ Day (United Methodists? Celebrating Saints?)
and how does it relate to an impenetrable fog with uplifting elegance?

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First, All Saints’ Day…

  • Actually occurs on November 1st but is celebrated on the first Sunday in November.
  • Got started for the Western church, around the 4th century, initially honoring those who had died, who had led holy, laudable lives for Christ. (Think of the capital-S-real-stuff Saints.)
  • Later expanded to include everybody – dead or alive! Anyone who has shared their faith; who has leveled the path before us. Often referred to as the great cloud of witnesses.
  • For United Methodists, “saints” are different than those in the Roman Catholic tradition. In the FAQ about what United Methodists believe, it clarifies our tenets on this matter.
  • Includes in particular remembering those who have died in the past year who were members of the congregation, and… well… those who were close to you who have recently left this earth.

The latter point ties the fog to the memory of saints.

I lost both my parents this past summer. Five weeks apart. I wasn’t ready to face (again) a remembrance of so-close, lost saints. (Are we ever?)

It has been hard. Sort of like being in a deep fog.

But then I remembered… As he receives the Ten Commandments, Moses goes up the mountain and “approached the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20:21.

Darkness can contain the presence of God.

The fog this morning was a reminder. In what could be seen as dreary darkness, when I looked closer, I found reason to give thanks for beauty. God was with me in my darkness.

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Photo credits:
An as-it-was, un-retouched photo from my archives. Shared at Flickr; licensed under a Creative Commons (BY NC-SA 2.0).

Why you need a thanksgiving chair

Thanksgiving table clothThis Thanksgiving as you gather ’round the table, I’ll bet there will be a time for reviewing your gratitude. There likely will be lists. Every year we write ours on the table cloth.

There are the usual entries: Our health, our families, our friends, our homes, our stuff. Do we remember to add our skills and abilities; our talents?

Everything is a gift.

Yes, everything.

Even the hard things.

I wonder how the third servant in the Parable of the Talents felt, after he’d been lambasted by his master? Did he consider that a gift?

I wonder how our experience of misfortune can be changed if we consider it a gift?

Watch this short video. It’s powerful. It’s a reminder to always give thanks, for everything.

And to teach our children to do likewise.

(If reading this in an email, you can watch this video on YouTube.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

a blue line


Some of you have seen this before. Is it okay if I do a repeat? I’m using parts of a post I published two years ago… but this one is good. It’s worth the re-exposing. Thanks for grace.

~~ Carol

 


Video produced by Shift Worship.

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