EMAIL DEVOTIONAL – WEEK of all Saints Sunday
The iron in our blood, the calcium in our bones and the oxygen we breathe are the physical remains – ashes, if you will – of stars that lived and died long ago. ~~Ray Jayawardhama
Or if you are a Joni Mitchell fan, you might find yourself thinking of her lyrics from the song “Woodstock”: We are stardust, billion year old carbon. I find myself thinking about these cuttings on the floor of the sermon prep room in my mind … leftovers that never made it into the Sunday sermon for All Saints Sunday. I loved this idea of the cosmic dust of the stars in the sky being a part of my life. It boggles my mind to think of this connection to the entire universe that we bear in our very own cells … and it gets me thinking about the “communion of saints” as we name those who have passed from this life into the next. Is it possible that a small molecule of Abram resides in my skull? Or a tiny atom of Balaam (or maybe his talking ass) populating my throat tissue. Sometimes when I say stupid things, I can believe it quite easily. What does this cosmic connection to our lives in the moment mean for us in our earthly lives?
At its most basic level it reminds us that death is not the antithesis to life. It is not the arch enemy of our earthly existence. We may think of it that way because this is all we know at the moment, but in truth it is simply a next step in our journey as a child of God, as we travel on our way to the Kingdom God has prepared for us. But at a deeper level than that, maybe it is also a reminder of our tangible connection to the saints of every time and place. Maybe it proclaims to us that All Saints’ Sunday is not solely about our remembering those we have lost. But that it is also about acknowledging that we possess within our very cells and tissue the fragments of God’s good creation … God’s saintly creations … and that whether we live or whether we die, we are always part of this communal landscape that is the goodness of God’s garden.
So in your thoughts and prayers in the coming days, why not consider how your life might be different, if those you have loved and lost, were not just residing in a grave-site at the local cemetery … but were instead literally a part of who you are at this moment of time? What if your departed loved ones actually travel through this life with you, in a tangible and physical way? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know … its a wacky idea … and the science doesn’t add up … the timing or the natural world’s biological recycling process doesn’t allow it. But we’re talking theology here, not science. What if? ……….
… oh … and don’t forget that little nod to “ashes” in the opening quote. You might just see that again next February 14.