One of my favorite days of the church year is All Saints’ on November 1. Remembering the beloved that have gone before us from death into new life touches the depths of my heart. How will your congregation celebrate this special day in 2020?
In past years, we have been in the sanctuary, where we can lift up those names in real, and concrete, and beautiful ways: Check out this one idea that my friend, Stephanie Luedtke, and I lead at a conference a couple years ago.
Last year at St John’s, we used the baptismal font and floating candles. The one large floating candle represented the 26 baptisms, and the smaller floating ones represented someone who had passed away. We also added those names of who had passed away to the chancel birch trees and do the familiar lighting of candles in a sand box.
Now it is COVID-2020, and at St John’s Lutheran Church in Lakeville, MN, we have not started worship in-person. We do though have our Radio Church – a parking lot service at 9 am, and so we are doing a new thing with All Saints’ Sunday:
To celebrate our saints, or any saints that have gone before us, we have given people a white luminary bag to decorate and an instruction sheet inside on what to do with the bag.
Here are the instructions inside the bag:
Each bag should be turned in with a name(s) and with a small prayer on how that person has impacted their faith. We will collect the bags at our Radio Church service, on Wednesday nights, or at the church office.
On All Saints’ Sunday, November 1, these bags will be sanded with a tea candle in them. If it’s not too windy nor snowing, then we will place them along the sidewalk at the parking lot service. As people leave, they will receive a bag to light in the evening on their porch or table. Of course, they won’t get their own sainted bag back but someone else’s saint. That’s what Hebrews 12: 1 is all about – that even people we do not know are part of that “great cloud of witnesses” that surrounds us.
What is your congregation doing for All Saints’? Please share in the comments below.