Today is All Saints Day, and tomorrow All Souls Day — a doubleheader of my favorite holy days. I appreciate All Saints Day not only because it was the day Pippa was baptized, but also because it’s a feast that whose honor extends even to me. While I rejoice in remembering the feasts of my favorite hero-saints, there is no risk whatever that I would attain to that degree of the eminence. On the other hand, these days embrace even the least of the saints — people like me — and allot them a feast day. Those of us who miss the cut for “saints,” even loosely construed, are commemorated on All Souls.
So I think of the All Saints tapestries at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, but I also remember one of the very favorite things I’ve read online: Halley Suitt’s column called, “When My Dad Wakes Up Today.” If you haven’t read it before, go read it now and then come back. I can wait.
The punchline — “I’ve died and gone to heaven” — hit home to me especially this All Saints/Souls Day. I’ve had a fair helping of pastoral-care work to do on- and offline over the past few weeks, and have been touched by the sad circumstances of several other people who didn’t call on me as a pastor. As I reflected today on the beautiful souls who have entwined their lives with mine, as I think about Elway, and Halley’s dad, and Pem’s dad, and all the saints, I realize that even now, at every moment, I’m surrounded on every side by Pippa, Si, Nate, Margaret, and Juliet and Jennifer, and our family back east; by a tight and tremendous community of bloggers and readers, some with whom I email and message day by day, and others whom I will never know.
It’s not just Halley’s dad, but me, too: surrounded by so marvelous a cloud of witnesses, I can wake up with Jacob and say, “This is none other than the house of God, and this is the very gate of heaven!”