Best of The Pietist Schoolman: All Saints

This past Tuesday, I wrote about the importance of All Saints’ Day, a prime example of how Christians can engage in “stewardship of the past.” Then as I actually took part in an All Saints’ observance this morning, it struck me that I’ve written a number of posts in recent years about dying, death, and how we remember the faithful departed.

In the event that one of these posts might be a balm to you this bittersweet Sunday…

Image of a cross casting a shadow on a grave
Michael Gaida/Pixabay

To Be a Historian Is To Speak Over Gravesides (April 25, 2016)

“To study mortals is to study incomplete lives. So history is full of beginnings without endings: unfinished projects, unrealized aspirations, deeds undone and words unsaid. Every story we tell has been cut short.”

Children of the Heavenly Father (November 3, 2015)

“The hard part is that we take refuge in a God of paradox: he provides and deprives, such that in death there is life and in sorrow, grace.”

Alyce’s Song: Reflections on a Funeral (February 12, 2015)

“The church is never more the church than at a funeral. Or so I decided last week, as the members and friends of Salem Covenant joined five families in paying final respects to five saints of the church…. ‘We are party crashers,’ I hastily wrote in my bulletin, ‘turning what the Evil One would claim as a triumph into a proclamation of his defeat.'”

Veterans Day (For Mike) (November 11, 2014)

“I’m not the journalist that Mike’s father is, but snapshots from that ceremony stuck in my mind. Mostly of people trying, each in their own way, to be as brave as Mike had been. But the tears came, and behind them, anger and fear and questions that won’t be answered. I’ve never hated war so much, nor loved my extended family so much.”

History as Christian Testimony (November 4, 2014)

“Funerals make historians of us all. The death of a loved one compels us, individually and collectively, to slow down and dedicate ourselves to remembering. Sometimes the task warms our heart, sometimes it rips open old wounds; invariably, it leads us to make meaning of what came before, to reflect on how the past produced the present.”

Dust and Beauty: A Lenten Meditation (March 7, 2014)

“Even in death — even in the dying that is slowly taking us all — God makes beauty out of dust.”


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