We celebrated All Saints Day yesterday. As with most protestant churches All Saints and All Souls have been combined. Other traditions keep the days separate. In their tradition All Saints is for the saints—St. Francis, St Catherine, St Mark, St Elizabeth, etc. The second day All Souls Day is reserved for remembrance of family, friends, local heroes who have given us reason to remember them in their death and new life. We had four pages of such remembrances for just our small congregation. Each name was precious to at least one person and often precious to many people. We offered prayers of thanksgiving as we celebrated their lives and acknowledged that their memory is a blessing.
It is hard to focus on occasions such as this when not in intentional worship. In our world we are also inundated with coverage of the election to be held tomorrow in the United States. We see with our own eyes acts of aggression and intimidation on the roads and bridges of that country. We hear reports of lawsuits by Republicans trying to undo election and balloting procedures that were put in place by fellow Republicans. Frankly it is a bit of a madhouse. Sadly, unacknowledged by a great many people is that today we should recall that over 230,000 souls lost their life due to COVID-19 in the midst of this election campaign. Instead of attempting to force a campaign bus off the road our neighbours might do well to think about lives lost and the thousands upon thousands of family members for whom this is a time of tragic loss, grief and loneliness.
Perhaps on this All Souls Day we should not only lift up all those who have died this year because of COVID (10,000+ Canadians; 230,000+ Americans; and so many thousands throughout the world) but pray that in the midst of loss we might still find hope for a better tomorrow. And for our neighbours, family and friends who might vote tomorrow let us pray that the outcome gives them a government with a clear mandate to care for its people.