On Sunday, Nov. 7, many of our congregations will celebrate All Saints’ Day. Below, the Rev. Matt Wise of Church of Reconciliation, San Antonio, reflects on what it means to be the communion of saints.
by the Rev. Matt Wise
In that beautiful pause following the end of the doxology and just before the ancient dialogue of the Sursum Corda begins(“The Lord be with you. And also with you. Lift up your hearts. We lift them to the Lord.”) I take a deep breath. Having just moments ago donned the chasuble, I step up to the table, now set with bread and wine, and look out into the faces of this congregation. Then my eyes drift upward through the windows behind the pews out into the Reconciliation courtyard – the trees, rocks, water and leaves where so many saints are scattered, so many memories of loved ones literally co-mingled with the dirt. And in that pause, in that fleeting moment with parishioners in the foreground and memorial garden in the background, I KNOW COMMUNION.
The tradition of our Eucharistic theology relays to us the central significance of “rich remembering.” We call something from the past, namely the disciples breaking bread with Jesus, into the present, making it a present reality for us to participate in here and now. We remember. And in doing so, we re-member.
The Body of Christ in this world is broken apart, spread thin, scattered broadly, separated, dismembered. Yet, at the core of our being as Episcopalians is this simple meal of thanksgiving where, in the midst of our brokenness and from the farthest corners of our diaspora, we all come together around one table joining with all the company of heaven, with those saints who have come before us and those sacred ones who will come after. Those in the pews are joined with those in the gardens are joined with those outside our cloisters and in this feast we re-member the dis-membered body of Christ. And the glass and stone of window and wall that separate the sanctuary from the courtyard, indeed, the very boundaries between life and death are transcended as the cloud of witnesses that is the Communion of Saints is made a living, breathing reality.
“We who are many are one body because we all share one bread, one cup.”
To learn more about the communion of saints and All Saints’ Day, go to the Explore More tab.
Reach the Rev. Matt Wise at firstname.lastname@example.org