All Hallows. All Souls. All Saints.
This is one of my favourite liturgical seasons. A mini-season of three days which encapsulate so much of my faith about people and place.
All Hallows. All Holies. Celebrating how we can hallow our daily surroundings. How the world of spirit is perhaps not so distant from the world of matter as we imagine – although there are those rare times when I stumble over what Celtic Christians call ‘thin places’, where I can palpably feel the presence of the Holy in every part of my surroundings. Perhaps most significantlyAll Hallows marks this: that the places where I spend my days were and are created holy; and I need to remember that to give the land, my environment, my earth what it needs to nourish holiness in myself and in others. I have the power to holy place, to make places whole. What a privilege; what a responsibility; what possibilities!
All Souls. All the people I know, encounter, meet during the course of my day, over the span of my lifetime: each person has a soul. This is an important reminder for me: to look for soul in every person in the here and now of my everyday comings and goings, either physically or virtually; or to use a different language, to seek the face of Christ in the other person before me. To treat them with dignity and mercy, without judgement: to celebrate their soul. This also means of course, a conscious intention on my part to let the holy show in me: to not back down about calling out injustice, wherever and whatever the cost.
If All Hallows stretches my understanding of the physics of place, then All Souls stretches my understanding of the workings of time. For this mini-season coalesces a time of remembrance of those holy ones and those souls who are now dead, all those who hallowed their everyday places as they went through life. Those who helped us on the journey towards realising our own holiness. I remember them, name them, thank the Holy One for them, rededicate myself to continuing their hallowing work. I also remember the souls of those who denied the existence of their own soul, and who damaged, destroyed, exploited others. I deny those ancestors the power to keep hurting me, or those I love, or the earth beneath my feet. I turn away from their past, without guilt or shame. I forgive where I need to; I commit to living a life with different values from those they showed me.
And lastly, but by no means leastly, All Saints. This stretches my understanding of community: across time, across place. I am part of a ‘cloud of witnesses’ to the action of the holy in the everyday, or to put it in terms of my instagram hashtag: I am a member of a faith-filled clan who commit daily to seeking to encounter the #epiphanyoftheordinary. All Saints celebrates those who are my Church, known and unknown to me, (and definitely unconfined to a building known as a church); those who walk with me through this world intentionally seeking Presence, wherever She is to be found; all those who are intentionally praying Peace, wherever He may be needed.
All Saints. All Souls. All Hallows. Three days redolent with history and tradition, which are crying out to be applied to the world of modernity around me. A three day personal reminder for me that I want to keep walking (stumbling, crawling) in the way of holiness, towards wholeness.
(And as I write that last sentence, I realise that the next liturgical season I will celebrate on this blog will be Advent, and that this year the theme of my #adventapertures is: whole. More on this to follow shortly.)