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Pastor’s Pen          November 1, 2017

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for God’s compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”     

Lamentations 3:22-23

Each Wednesday morning just after the bell tower strikes nine, a dozen or so women from our church gather in the Ladies’ Parlor for prayer. We check in with each other, as women do, about the health of those we love and concerns for our families. Just today, before commending all our myriad struggles and celebrations to God in prayer, we paused for a moment to lament the violence of our world. Though grateful that 100 people weren’t killed yesterday in lower Manhattan, nevertheless we mourn the death of eight mother’s sons gone too soon.

It’s awful to think of it. If we have any compassion in us we lament the suffering of those who wait at home for loved ones who will never return. We lament their untimely and senseless deaths. We lament too the despair of those who rent a truck and drive it into a crowd of people. What sorrow must fill their hearts to think of such a thing? It’s hard to imagine the circumstances that might bring a person to consider that their best and highest hope for the world is to participate in it’s undoing.

Today of all days it won’t help us to turn off the news and try to go on about our business. It’s November 1, All Saints Day. This is the day after All Holy Eve, All Hallow’s Eve, that Hallowed night of preparation before the remembering of all who have preceded us in death. We remember the names of our beloved gone to glory, gone to join the saints in light, both those we held dear and those we never knew.

Today we remember those who’s lives we celebrated here in our church since last All Saints Day: Robert Lewis Maxted-Rice, Arthur Berger, Irene Patricia Welsh, Jean Bridges, Alexander Turner, Neil Rolde, Harald F. Hansen, Virginia Parsons, Janice L. Goller, Irene Kirchgraber Bragdon, Meredith Starbranch and Paula B. Sullivan.

We add to these remembrances the names of our last saint, Henry Richards, gone just yesterday to join all the saints in light.

As people of faith, we trust that death is not the end of our story. As people of faith we affirm that God’s force of Good is greater than the darkest imaginable valley. We believe that God will turn our mourning to dancing as God has said. And yet, sometimes the path to light is paved with lament. God in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Prayer: We thank you God for the lives of all creatures you have made. May we live with such presence and compassion towards ourselves and others this day, that all might know your endless and everlasting love. Amen

God’s grace, mercy and peace be with you,

Pastor Anna V. Copeland