Memento Mori Transfigured: All Saints Day as a Christian Memorial Day

From the Ekklesia Project’s blog:

Where I live, remembering and honoring the dead is celebrated annually in May. Over Memorial Day weekend, families flock to cemeteries, flowers in hand, to decorate the graves of loved ones who have passed. In many cases out-of-town relatives come in for this ritual. It’s a pretty big deal.

The church remembers the dead at an entirely different time of year. In Protestant churches, on either November 1st or the first Sunday in November, we celebrate All Saints’ Day. In the churches I’ve served, we remember and name the members of the congregation who have died since All Saints’ Day the year before.

What prevents the Church’s practices on All Saints’ Day from turning into ancestor worship, and what makes those practices different from the practice of decorating graves?

… A Church which takes seriously its liturgical responsibility on All Saints’ Day provides a tremendous act of pastoral and congregational care to those who grieve. Let us offer something greater than putting flowers on a grave.

Go read the rest here.


2 thoughts on “Memento Mori Transfigured: All Saints Day as a Christian Memorial Day

  1. sacredsearching says:

    The Lutheran churches here in Japan set a table up in front of the altar and/or podium where people put pictures of loved ones or former members of the church up. Then there was a short, but special liturgical moment of prayer for All Saints Day (I couldn’t translate most of it though….). But what I think was most meaningful was taking communion in the midst of all of that. Granted, many churches take communion on the first Sunday of the month, but to come forward as a group around those tables following the ritual reinforced the value of shared community within communion. It highlighted the feeling that this wasn’t simply a personal reminder of Christian ritual, but rather that we are a part of a “cloud of witnesses” both in the present and descending from generations before. It was really great.

  2. Ben says:

    I see you are a Barth man. Are you familiar with T.F. Torrance.
    If not check out his stuff, no serious theology student should be without some T.F. in his bag. Btw T.F. was a stident of Barth’s. Also may I direct you to C.B. Kruger, a student of J.B. Torrance, T.F.’s bro. You can find C.B.K. at
    Checkout Martain Davis’ blog while there. Martain is linked to B.K. and is currently blogging on Torrance.
    I’m new to your site, but excited to have found it. Take care, Ben

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