Random Notes CCCLXIV
In many countries across the world, today- All Saints’ Day, is considered a day of dignity and reflection, an occasion for people to remember and miss loved ones who have died, especially perhaps those who have died during the previous year. As I mentioned in last week’s email, in Finland, the tradition on All Saints’ Day is to visit cemeteries where loved ones rest and to light candles on their graves to honour and remember them.
It was particularly impressive for the diocesan group visiting Finland back in 2017 to see the spectacle of thousands of burning candles in the dark of the Finnish winter and we really appreciated the opportunity given to us to lay candles in a graveyard in memory of our own deceased loved ones. The flames burning on the graves until the candles run out are just one evocative way to keep alive the memory of those who are no longer among us. Today in our Service, I will light candles for all of the names that have been sent into me and after the Service, I will place the lit candles in the Graveyard.
I will think about all of the people whom we have known and loved and who have gone to God before us. May they all rest in peace and rise in glory. Amen.
Music Notes 1-11-2020
The hymns for today’s online service are:
335 Jesus calls us
– We are gathered
647 Guide me, O thou great Jehovah
The hymn at the Gradual today introduces a second coronavirus-inspired hymn, this time from the US. It is written by Amanda Udis-Kessler who is based in Colorado and was submitted to the Hymn Society for use by all congregations. Ms. Udis-Kessler is a well-known hymn writer and is interested in writing mainly for inclusive, social justice-minded Christians and what she terms as ‘open-hearted religious traditions’. I don’t know why I thought of Canon Elaine when I read that description……!
The opening hymn is included as a tribute to Graham Maule who wrote the text with his friend John Bell, both associated with the Iona community. Graham died around this time last year and All Saints Day seemed like a good day to remember such a prolific hymn writer. The text is sung to a charming Scottish folk song.
The service finishes with an arrangement for piano of ‘Guide me, o thou great Jehovah’ by the American composer Mark Patterson. I hope you enjoy the unusual setting.
We Are Gathered (text by Amanda Udis-Kessler, 2020) Tune: Converse.
We are gathered in the Spirit though our bodies are apart,
Filled with joy and touched with wonder, separate hands but mingled hearts
Giving thanks and singing praises for the love that calls us on.
From our many different places we are gathered into one.
We are gathered in our sorrow. We are gathered in our fear,
In our pain and in our worry, in our anger and our tears.
As we tend to one another with our gifts and with our care,
Our community is strengthened through the faith and hope we share.
We are gathered in commitment to a planet that is whole.
Works of justice, acts of kindness bless the world and heal our souls.
As our voices join together, may our song of peace resound.
May we offer in abundance all the grace that we have found
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