Every year the church pauses to name the saints who are no longer physically with us.
This year we will be shepherded into and out of worship by bagpipes. The blast of sound will serve as a musical rupture of the thin veil separating the living from the dead.
The service is so very alive. We name church members who have died in the previous year and project their faces onto our screen as we savor the ways they have blessed and changed us.
This year our church has been changed by 20 deaths. While the grief around their passing is so very real so too is the pleasure of saying their names and remembering their being.
The seminary that I attended offered an opportunity to memorialize beloveds through buying a paver for a newly finished chapel courtyard. Since my father was for a time adjunct faculty at UTS and since my heart longs for places and times where his name can be in the hearts of the now, it felt so good to create a reminder that once he was, even as he still is in the hearts of many.
And of course during this thin veil time, I wonder about my own death and the day when it will be my face on the screen, my name on the lips, my being bookended with birth and death dates.
Poet Mary Oliver asks : “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Tomorrow we name those who answered that question every day they were given.
And so it comes to us.
How is it we plan to enter fully the wild and precious gift that is life?
Mindfully or no, we live our answer.