Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

Good morning!  We had an amazing worship service and celebration of All Saints Day this morning.  Here is my meditation.  We had a lot of other things going on, so it was short.  Enjoy!

***

Sarah Weaver
Rehoboth Congregational Church
Rehoboth, MA
November 3, 2013

Luke 6:20-31

Celebrate! Celebrate! Celebrate!

I don’t need to say much today.

Today is All Saints Sunday. Very often when people think of “All Saints” they think of the 10,000+ saints that have been officially recognized or “canonized” in the church as holy men and women, of the saints that carry specific prayers and purposes and of the saints that are commemorated on medals and charms and sold at the Vatican gift shop.

In the Protestant tradition, however, All Saints Sunday is an opportunity for people to celebrate and honor the personal saints in their life. It is a day when we give thanks to God for our family members and for our friends who whose lives impacted us greatly.

A few weeks ago I asked the Deacons what they thought we should do for All Saint’s Sunday this year. For the past two years we have somberly reflected on the people in our lives who have come and gone before us. It has been powerful and moving – a true testament to glory of God throughout the generations.

But there is a piece of me that always hates coming out of such an amazing Bazaar weekend and moving into a somber worship service. And when I brought this up to the Board they asked me if there was any way that we could honor All Saint’s Sunday by celebrating the lives of our saints instead of mourning their absence today.

We spent the next ten or fifteen minutes of our meeting smiling and laughing as we recalled memories and told stories of the saints of this church. And in light of All Saints Sunday falling on Bazaar weekend, many of those stories involved this the time-honored tradition RCC tradition.

… Bob Wray at the Cider Shack.
… Fran in the kitchen.
… Evalyn Muggleton insisting on real plates, silverware and linens at the Turkey Supper.

The stories went on and on.

In a way, it is kind of neat that All Saints Sunday usually falls on the weekend of the Bazaar. Because through the traditions that have been passed down to us from our saints (not to mention the recipes), we are reminded of the ways that God has worked through this church for the past nearly-300 years. And we can see how strong the foundation is that we stand on today.

It was fun to reflect that night. And that is what I want to do today. I want to smile. I want to laugh. I want to tell funny stories and laugh until I cannot catch my breath. I want to smile when I think about my fiscally-conservative grandmother proudly telling me that she had dodged traffic earlier that week to retrieve 37 cents that she saw in the middle of the street. I want to laugh when I look at pictures from my wedding and see my grandmother halfway down the aisle unescorted, because she had decided that my grandfather just wasn’t walking fast enough for her. I want to think back to Thanksgiving in the early 90’s at my great-grandmother’s house on Long Island. My dad and I were making a trip to Tower Records (do you remember that store?) so that I could by a cassette tape of the latest album released by the female hip hop band, Salt-n-Pepa. Ten minutes after our conversation about the trip to the store my Hungarian great-grandmother walked by the kitchen saying, “Someone just said that the tables needed salt and pepper!”

I want to cry happy tears. I want to celebrate life and not mourn death. And I want to stand tall knowing that I am the person that I am today because of my saints.

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh,” the scripture says.

There is a sheet of paper in your bulletin that says “Celebrating Stories: All Saints Sunday 2013”. During a time of extended reflection this morning, I invite you to take that paper and celebrate a story. We will be reading off names during our prayer today, so please put write the names of your saints on the top of the paper and then bring it forward. I invite you to reflect on those stories either quietly or out loud to the people around while everyone is moving around. When everyone has brought their names forward, we will join together in prayer.

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