Br. Luke Ditewig

Isaiah 25:6-9, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 5:24-27

Today we celebrate All Souls. This feast was added in the tenth century to remember all the dead, not simply those deemed notable saints down the centuries, and to particularly remember deceased family and friends.

We remember the dead with thanksgiving: for how they touched us, for who they were and are to and for us, for relationship, influence, nurture, and the gift of their life. These “whom we love but see no longer.”[i]

We remember the dead with confidence. As in the Letter to the Thessalonians: We do “not grieve as others do who have no hope.    For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.” And from Isaiah, God will “swallow up death forever. … and wipe away tears from all faces.”

We remember the dead with expectation. Today’s gospel says: “the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” We each die broken and incomplete. We need and receive more beyond the grave. The dead will live, not simply awake but continue to grow and heal. Read More

Br. Luke DitewigAll Souls Day

Isaiah 25:6-9, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, John 5:24-27

Today is the third of a trio: Halloween, All Saints and All Souls. We transferred two of them, celebrating All Saints on Sunday and now All Souls today. These three ground us in mortality and in blessed hope as we remember the dead.

All Saints Day began in the sixth century to remember the life and witness of hundreds of Christians who were killed for their faith during the first three centuries of the Church. Halloween—Hallow’s Eve—is the evening before All Hallows Day, meaning “holy” or “saint” which we now call All Saints Day. Read More

Br. James Koester

Joshua 24: 1-3a, 14-25; Psalm 78: 1-7; 1 Thessalonians 4: 13-18; Matthew 25: 1-13

It was a hot summer afternoon and the little church where I served as the assistant curate was packed with people wearing their summer best. The groom and I were patiently waiting in the sacristy while the best man and the groomsmen were out exploring the cemetery. Time that afternoon seemed to have come to a standstill while we waited, and waited, and waited, and waited. The appointed time of the wedding came and went and the groom started to pace back and forth in the little sacristy. We waited 5, 10, 15 minutes and there was no sign of the bride. Even after 20 and 25 minutes there was still no sign of her. Finally, finally, finally half an hour after the wedding was to begin a car pulled up in front of the church and out jumped one of the bridesmaids. Her hair was immaculate, but she was wearing jeans and a tee shirt. She dashed into the sacristy and explained to the poor groom, now beside himself with anxiety, that the bridal party had only just returned from the hair dressers and the bride was only now beginning to get dressed. She’d be at least another half hour if not longer we were told. With that the bridesmaid dashed back to her car and sped off to continue her preparations. The groom collapsed into a chair and I went out into the church to release the congregation from captivity and send them out to explore the cemetery. Finally, more than an hour after we were to begin, the bridal party, with the bride in tow, arrived; the congregation took their places once more; and the groom, who by then had recovered some of his composure, and I headed out of the sacristy and into the church to begin. Read More