"One day we will return to the earth..."
The feast of All Saints begins a short season of the year culminating in the last Sunday of our liturgical year where we celebrate the Kingship of Christ. Both these feast days, and this season direct our attention to those who now dwell in hope for the reign of Christ to come as well as Christ's coming in glory when earth and heaven will be joined at the end of all time. Yet there is another theme of this season -- our own mortality. Like those who have gone before us, we too live in the "in between" time and will one day dwell with all the saints.
In the commendation of the dead in the funeral service of the Book of Common Prayer we pray: "You only are immortal, the creator and maker of mankind; and we are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return." During this season we call "Kingdomtide," we remember that everything we have and are -- even our own bodies -- are temporal. One day we will return to the earth and all that we have will be dispersed to others. As Christians we use what we are and what we have to build up the Reign of God.
The Prayer Book asks priests from time to time to remind people in their congregation "to make wills, while they are in health, arranging for the disposal of their temporal goods, not neglecting, if they are able, to leave bequests for religious and charitable uses" (BCP p.445). In this time of stewardship, may each of us take stock of our use of our financial resources -- not only in our living, but in our dying. It is appropriate to make sure we each have a will and to think of the legacy we might give to the ongoing support of St. John's for the next generation, through our wills, or in planned giving, or other ways.
Finally, do you have a plan for your funeral? We invite you to sit down with one of the clergy to consider and prepare the kind of service you might like at the end of your life and to have this on file to help your family.
These questions are not easy to think about. Yet during this season we look forward to the future, not as those who see death as an ending, but as those who have a sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.