Editor’s note: This celebration of the Church, which in the language of earlier English-speakers is rightly celebrated on Nov. 1 as “All Hallows’ Day” (or on the Eve of All Hallows, Oct. 31, or “Hallowe’en”), remembers specifically the faithful who have passed from this life into the next through death, and celebrates the power of the Resurrection over death itself. It was created specifically to assure that those who by their remarkable faith were deserving of having a feast day set aside to their honor would be remembered. The feast established for Nov. 2, “All Souls’ Day,” was in its founding designed to mark an observance of the death of those of us who are perhaps “less remarkable” in our faith, and to lead all of us to face the story of life with those we are nurturing in faith (our children) by a visit to the parish graveyard. It might well be an occasion for those who would take note of it today to deal with the pastoral reality of a world which is widely in denial of the reality of death (or the powerful illusion of death, if that is one’s theological understanding of what happens when we cease to reside in this earthly frame), and make occasion to mark the brevity of life.
See Oct. 28 & Nov. 4 Entry if not observing All Saints on Sunday.
We would love to hear from those whose congregations observe All Saints’ Day and/or All Souls’ Day in any liturgical manner.
All Saints B
November 1, 2011 (or All Saints Sunday)
Scripture (from the Revised Common Lectionary, with links provided by TextWeek.com – a source for thoughtful worship and preaching throughout the year):
Click on Scripture Lessons below for study links and resources:
Suggested Hymns from Chalice Hymnal
Hymn of Praise: 637, Hymn for All Saints’ Day (by the editor)
Hymn of Prayer: 646
Hymn of Invitation: 638, 639
Communion Hymn: 408, or any other of the hymns listed here.
Dismissal/Missional Hymn: 649, 431
More hymn suggestions, as well as helpful references for use of the arts in worship, are available from the United Church of Christ website.
Dealing with the Psalm of the Day:
Since Chalice Hymnal does not provide a complete Psalter, there will be occasions when suggestions may be made for alternate Psalm use (or hymn equivalent). Psalm 24 is in Chalice Hymnal p. 735.
Words of Greeting/Call to Prayer (created or adapted by the editor)
L: Praise the Lord, all you saints!
P: Praise God all you heavenly hosts!
L: Patriarchs and Prophets, holy men and women, evangelists and apostles, all you holy martyrs: all whose robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb:
P: Praise the Lord!
L: We are the saints who are the living body of Christ, the Church.
P: Praise the Lord! O praise the name of the Lord!
L: We gather this morning to celebrate the lives of persons we name as saints.
P: Some of them are living, others have completed their physical lives here on earth.
L: Some have touched us personally, others have touched and called into question the institutions and structures of our society.
P: But all have shaken our being—all have been examples of lives and wholeness, working for justice. We celebrate these persons and their lives in all aspects of God’s creation!
or see Act of Praise below
Act of Praise(Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9)
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God
and no torment will ever touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish they seem to have died,
and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
And their going from us seemed to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
For though in our sight they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy.
Like gold in the furnace, God tried them,
and like a sacrificial offering, God accepted them.
In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
They will govern nations and rule over
peoples, and the Lord will reign over them forever.
Those who trust in God will understand truth,
and the faithful will abide in love.
Because grace and mercy are upon God’s
chosen, and God watches over the saints.
Intercessions (created or adapted by the editor)
How rich is your mercy toward us, O God. How great is the love with which you love your creation. Hear the prayers of your people as we speak to you the joys and sorrows that are moving within us. And speak to us once more your words of comfort and assurance. Call to our remembrance how you stand with us when we are feeble, how you bear with us when we are weak. Open our eyes, our ears, our hearts to a deeper understanding of your love and care for every child you have brought forth upon the earth, and for the earth itself. Be attentive to those whose lives are closely linked with our own, whom we have named before you this day, and those we name in the silence of our hearts…
Give us grace, God of Abraham and Sarah, of Moses and Debora, God of Mary and Joseph, of Paul and Phoebe—grace to walk in the company of those who have followed your Christ, both in days long past and in our present. We would be your holy ones, all together, as faithful doers of your bidding. As your Spirit moves among us this day, call to our memories those whose lives have touched us in a special way and who rest in your presence
—Naming of the blessed dead
Acclamation: These, and others are your holy ones. Until we join with your people in praise at your throne, we press on. And in the company of your saints from every age, we praise you, One God, world without end. [Amen, or continue:]
L: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Now they rest from their labors and their works follow them.
P: Blessed forever is our God! Amen.
L: As God has poured out his rich mercy in our lives, let us give thanks as we gather at his table to celebrate the life we share in Christ.
P: Blessed are you, Lord our God. Your giving never ceases. Fill the lives of your faithful people with such gratitude that we may always praise you in Christ. Amen.
Collect of the Day (created or adapted by the editor)
God of all holiness, you gave your saints different gifts on earth, but one holy city in heaven. Give us grace to follow their good example, that we may know the joy you have prepared for all who love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Service of Table (created or adapted by the editor; if Memorial Observance by names takes place in the Prayers of the People, adapt Memorial suggestion below or omit it entirely)
Invitation (Memorial; Unity; Rev. 21:3-4)
At this table, the church remembers and celebrates the love of God. The act of sharing bread and wine is a statement of faith and an expression of assurance. Communion happens in many different ways in different churches throughout the world, and in each place brings a new meaning of life in the Spirit of God that is right for that community.
But above all, here believers join themselves to the Lord of life. Death, which shows itself in sins, injustice, oppression and despair, yields to concrete demonstrations of life which produce peace, justice, hope, liberation and salvation.
This meal is an act of expectation. We, in the midst of our daily lives, proclaim the imminent manifestation of the kingdom of God. Hope replaces sorrow; joy surpasses tears; the power of life triumphs over the reign of death. As an act of faith surpassing the limits of time and place, we sing along with John in the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ: “Now God’s home is with mortals! He will live with them and they shall be his people. God will personally be with them, and will be their God. God will wipe away all tears from their eyes, and there will be an end to death. There will be no more grief nor crying nor pain, for the old order has passed away.”
Friends, we come to this day in praise of God and witness to our faith as the church as we remember the lives of those whose service, hopes, accomplishments and faith have touched our own. We acknowledge our grief in our human loss. May God search our hearts that in pain we may find comfort, in sorrow hope, in death resurrection.
In what is said and done at this table, we have the opportunity to experience an extraordinary array of meanings. We call it the Lord’s supper, eucharist—meaning thanksgiving—holy communion, the breaking of bread. As Paul recounts the tradition known to him, he speaks of remembrance, when he says “this do in remembrance of me.” The word used here not only involves memory, but carries a special meaning. It is not merely a recollection of something long gone and so remote from us, but a re-presentation which makes what is past a vivid and lively reality here and now. Jesus is present with us in this remembrance.
In remembering, we go beyond thinking of a bygone event. Here, in this joyful celebration of God’s saving acts, the promises of Christ are brought before our hearts and minds with stark immediacy. At this supper, the line dividing past and present is erased. We become participants in the event of Christ’s life, death and resurrection. We join the company of disciples of every time and place who have and do gather now to share this meal with him. To remember the occasion in which God’s covenant of love was revealed is to share in the renewal of that covenant. We commune not only with him, but with all those who have responded to his invitation in all times and places. Let us remember, then, the body of Christ as we celebrate with the saints of Christ at his table.
Let us pray: God of Abraham and Sarah, of Moses and Deborah, God of Mary and Joseph, of Paul and Phoebe, God of our fathers and mothers, and God of all creation, we praise you for the great company of all those who have finished their course in faith and now rest from their labors. We praise you for those dear to us whom we name in our hearts before you. We praise you for your children whom you have taken to yourself, as we remember:
(Naming of the blessed dead)
God of our ancestors, God of our here and now, these are your holy ones. Make us to be your holy ones in this generation, in community with those who have done your bidding, now unbound by space and time. Help us to press on in the company of your saints everywhere, as we praise you, through Christ our Lord. Amen
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all die, but we shall all be changed. This perishable nature must put on the imperishable; this mortal, immortality. Then shall come to pass the saying: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting; O grave, where is thy victory?” Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us join in the feast of Christ’s victory (as we sing our communion hymn) …
Suggested Elders Prayers:
Prayer for Bread:
Loving God, as bread broken and scattered, your church looks to you to make us one again. Help us who receive this bread, remembering your love for us in Jesus Christ, to be strengthened in our faith and hope, knowing that in reality we are one with Christ and one with each other, enjoying the timeless feast which you have spread for us, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Prayer for Cup:
Send your Spirit upon us who gather here in faith, and upon these gifts of bread and cup. May we who drink this wine be filled with your Spirit and renewed to join the great un-numbered host who sing your praise now and throughout eternity, until we join with them in the celebration of your victory at your heavenly table, for we offer you our praise and our lives through Jesus Christ. Amen.
RESOURCES from COMMON WORSHIP
you have knit together your elect
in one communion and fellowship
in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord:
grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living
that we may come to those inexpressible joys
that you have prepared for those who truly love you;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
God, the source of all holiness and giver of all good things:
may we who have shared at this table
as strangers and pilgrims here on earth
be welcomed with all your saints
to the heavenly feast on the day of your kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Intercessions from Common Worship
Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us make our prayer in the power of the Spirit, looking to Jesus the pioneer of our faith.
That with the noble fellowship of the prophets we may discern the signs of your kingdom in our midst, we pray to you, O Lord: R
That with the glorious company of the apostles we may proclaim your gospel throughout the world, we pray to you, O Lord: R
That with the white-robed army of martyrs we may be ready to suffer for the truth’s sake, we pray to you, O Lord: R
That with all who are anointed by your Spirit we may bring good news to the poor and freedom to the oppressed, we pray to you, O Lord: R
That with the saints in light we may bind up the brokenhearted and comfort all who mourn, we pray to you, O Lord: R
That within the whole company of Christ’s pilgrim people we may come to the inheritance of the saints in glory, we pray to you, O Lord: R
In communion with all the saints, let us commend the world to the mercy and protection of God.
Open prayer may be offered and silence is kept. The Collect and Lord’s Prayer follow.
Common Worship Almanac and Lectionary for the year beginning Advent Sunday 2011. Compiled by Simon Kershaw October 2011 from the Common Worship Calendar and Lectionaries using Almanac Maker; compilation © Simon Kershaw 2011; Almanac Maker © Simon Kershaw 2010. The Revised Common Lectionary is copyright © the Consultation on Common Texts 1992. The Daily Eucharistic Lectionary is adapted from the Ordo Lectionum Missae of the Roman Catholic Church reproduced by permission of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy. Adaptations and additions to the RCL and the DEL, together with Second and Third Service lectionaries and the Weekday Lectionary for Morning and Evening Prayer are copyright © the Archbishops’ Council 1997-2010. Version 2012-1.2 30 October 2011. http://almanac.oremus.org/lectionary
Resources from the Jubilee Fund: This stewardship ministry serving the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) offers weekly emails, archived here at the Disciples Center for Faith and Giving Site, for each Sunday’s service.
You may also want to visit Worship Connection at MinistryMatters.com, which offers numerous helps, including electronic versions of print resources for worship and preaching planning.
Intercessions and other helpful planning materials geared to the Lectionary (using Roman Catholic version, but normally quite useful for all traditions) for preaching and worship are supplied for several weeks in advance at The Sunday Website of St. Louis University.
Liturgies created by Moira Laidlaw(Uniting Church in Australia) as a part of her doctoral dissertation are often helpful. Read more here.