The Congregation at Duke University Chapel


photo of Carol

Maybe you have leftover Halloween candy or are still savoring the All Hallows’ Eve service at the Chapel. Halloween was on Tuesday, All Saints’ Day was Wednesday, and this weekend we will celebrate All Saints’ Sunday. Fortunately, as people of faith, we are not spooked by death nor frightened by the grave, and instead we celebrate the lives of the faithful whose life on earth is complete.

This time of year, I think of my father, because his birthday was on October 31. It’s years ago now that I led a simple funeral service for him in northern New Hampshire. The attendance was small as he had moved from the Detroit area where he lived and worked for the majority of his career. Dad was not a church goer, yet with confidence I read Matthew 25. The passage speaks of the time when the Son of Man comes in glory, separating the sheep from the goats, declaring “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) Because of his dedication to caring for sick children and because of the promises of our Lord, I count my father as one of the saints I remember on All Saints’ Sunday.

We are surrounded by a “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). These witnesses include our ancestors chronicled in scripture, the heroes and heroines of the faith, and those who have been near and dear to us. We continue to love our family members and friends who have preceded us in death, even though that love takes a new form when they are no longer present. And one day, we will join that great cloud of witnesses, adding our voices to the celestial choir.

As you remember the saints in your own life, may we together sing our praise to God.

May the peace of Christ be with you.