"Each and all of us will one day share with Christ in his death"
Last week we reflected on our mortality as a key theme of this season from All Saints through the end of the Church year, next week, the Feast of Christ the King (November 25). On that day we dedicate the new funeral pall to which many people in our congregation have contributed.
The pall is a beautiful large cloth that covers the casket of the deceased during the funeral. No flowers or other things are placed on the body because the pall represents the garment we received on the day of our baptism and it makes a profound statement as to the life we share in Christ. As St. Paul says, “for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:27-28).
We also use the pall during our Good Friday liturgy when the burial icon of Jesus is carried in and placed on it. Then we have the opportunity to come forward and lay a flower there and pray. What a powerful symbol that each and all of us will one day share with Christ in his death along with all who have gone before us, whose bodies have been covered with that same pall. We ourselves may lie under it one day when we leave this life. And yet that Good Friday liturgy says that death is not the last word, because we also share with Christ in his resurrection.
So as all those who contributed towards this pall for our community carry it up to the altar on the Feast of Christ the King, and as we see the names of those who have died embroidered on it, we can know that, because Jesus is Lord and King of Creation, resurrection and new creation await us. That is God's dream for you, and me, and the whole world.