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.