All Saints' Day and 6th Grade:
Yesterday a group of 6th graders were working on making their sentences come alive with the use adjectives and adverbs. One group had the word "caravan." They wrote a sentence that talked about the Native Americans being forced to walk in a caravan along what is now known as the "Trail of Tears." As their teacher helped them re-work the sentence so people could "see" their use of the word caravan more vividly, one boy said what if we added: "and their memories trailed behind them." I suddenly saw this painful, forced march the United States Government made the Native Americans make come alive! I was moved by this phrase.
Today is All Saints' Day. Many of us will wake this morning, make coffee, turn on the morning news, shower, dress, and head out into a day, joining the caravan of humanity going about its daily tasks. As move along our journey in life, may we take a moment on this day to glance if for just a moment into our rearview mirrors or over our shoulders, and see "the memories trailing behind us."
Without knowing it (or maybe he does) this young 6th grade boy touched on what the writer of Hebrews calls "such a great Cloud of Witnesses." Our memories of loved ones trail behind us, walk beside us and show us the way through life, death, and life beyond death.
Today, we have a chance to remember and give thanks for our living memories of those we have loved and lost and who live within us forever and always in Love.
Fredrick Buechner writes: “When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart. For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I'm feeling most ghost-like, it is your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I'm feeling sad, it's my consolation. When I'm feeling happy, it's part of why I feel that way. If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget, part of who I am will be gone.” (Whistling in the Dark: A Doubter's Dictionary)
On this All Saints' Day, may God bless you and keep you and the memories of your loved ones, now and for ever. Amen.