Author Topic: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls  (Read 1078 times)

D. Engebretson

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Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« on: October 29, 2020, 09:58:54 AM »
In a few days Halloween will be here, the national holiday where folks in my part of the country love to decorate their houses in ways equaled only by Christmas, and have virtually caused a condition of 'orange fatigue.'  I can thank my Celtic forebears for making an otherwise religious occasion into one that obscures anything of the hope of heaven. 

I was surprised, however, that the triduum of this festival (All Hallow's Eve, All Hallow's Day, All Soul's Day) is not cut all of one cloth, and not all of the triduum of this festival is necessarily one of joy.  All Hallow's Eve, at least going back to medieval times, treated this part of the triduum as a more somber time.  In a missal from 1927 I noticed that the Catholic church designated purple for the altar and priestly vestments.  In James Monti's book A Sense of the Sacred - Roman Catholic Worship in the Middle Ages (Ignatius Press, 2012), we read that "the eve of All Saints is a 'day of affliction', that is, a day of fasting recalling the 'misery of the present life'...." (529).  There was also a tradition on this day to have a "Black Vespers," so named for the color of the vestments.  While not found in any of the church's official liturgical books, there was a Breton custom to hold such a service on All Hallow's Eve.  One article notes that the service "begins with the antiphon 'I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living'—and perhaps here we can see the origin of the idea that on Halloween the departed souls returned to earth."  (https://www.liturgicalartsjournal.com/2019/09/all-hallows-eve-halloween-in.html?fbclid=IwAR16hTC5VDN9r0FiZpFBrDUCCSRBPiSPOZEqhxQLrafsyv4qJpqTPfc06YQ&m=1)

The third day of the triuum, historically known as "All Soul's Day," is problematic for protestants.  Although also known for some time as "The Commemoration of the Faithful Departed," as it is called in the Lutheran tradition, it is connected with the teaching of purgatory.  Again, from a 1927 missal: "The feast of All Saints is intimately connected with the remembrance of the holy souls who, detained in purgatory to expiate their venial sins or to pay the temporal pains due to sin, are none the less confirmed in grace and shall one day enter heaven."  I suspect that masses are still said for those in purgatory, however, those more closely connected with the Roman church would know more of this.  The current RC catechism continues to teach the doctrine of purgatory, so I can't imagine that this custom would not persist. 

In my church, the entire triuum is compressed into one Sunday where we remember the 'great cloud of witnesses' who have preceded us into the presence of Christ, as well as remember the local saints who passed away during the previous twelve months.  The entire celebration is vested in white and retains none of its medieval heaviness. 

American traditions have in some ways kept a bit of the medieval tradition alive, albeit in a commercialized way devoid of any spirituality.  The idea of souls suddenly freed from purgatorial detention to wander the earth for a night, along with the Celtic addition of free floating evil spirits to terrorize all, continues in some way in the incessant stream of horror movies slotted on cable TV for October. 

Nonetheless, it is a wonderful festival with a much needed glimpse of the glory to come and a time to give thanks for the preservation of the faithful even in times of great duress. 
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 10:01:00 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2020, 10:54:07 AM »
I'm curious as to how others mark the day.  Tradition in my parish (both congregations) has been to have family members of those who have gone to their heavenly home since last All Saints, come forward to light a candle during a remembrance litany.  We have modified that this year to be luminaries lit on the sidewalk and steps outside the church, and the remembrance litany moved to the end of the service.  The luminaries will be lit by one person as the names are read.  What do others do?

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2020, 11:07:56 AM »
PRAGMATIC POST:

We are getting drenched in central Ohio, along with the usual Covid protocols and have had to adjust our plans to celebrate All Hallows' Eve with the neighborhood children. In Columbus trick or treating is observed tonight rather than on the 31st. (I'm not sure why.)

For the last several years we've set up a labyrinth through the church and treated the trick-or-treaters at stations along the way, while teaching things about the Christian faith.

Due to Covid-19, we planned an outside event this year, a trunk or treat with decorating that taught Bible stories.

Now, due to the rain, we're on our third plan! We've set up a series of canopies on our lawn beside our sidewalk. These will be our stations, kept out of the rain. Our stations this year will teach:

God created the world.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin.
God promised the defeat of Satan.
God promised a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
The Savior died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

The team is putting together some cute and fun decorating ideas for the stations. It'll be interesting to see how many families come out, given Covid and the rain.
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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2020, 11:18:36 AM »
I'm curious as to how others mark the day.  Tradition in my parish (both congregations) has been to have family members of those who have gone to their heavenly home since last All Saints, come forward to light a candle during a remembrance litany.  We have modified that this year to be luminaries lit on the sidewalk and steps outside the church, and the remembrance litany moved to the end of the service.  The luminaries will be lit by one person as the names are read.  What do others do?
From a church bulletin ...
Quote
All Saints’ Memorial Gifts to Altar Guild
The Altar Guild invites you to lift in loving memory the people, occasions, and concerns of your life in celebration of All Saints’ Sunday, November 1st. Every year, this free will offering ensures that the weekly flower and candle donation remains modest enough to encourage all members to share memories and milestones with their church family throughout the church year.
Prior to October 25th (Reformation), please fill out the information below and ...

Sunday the bell will toll as the names of the faithfully departed are read ... hopefully “For All the Saints” is one of the Covid reduced hymns that will be sung.
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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2020, 11:21:53 AM »
PRAGMATIC POST:

We are getting drenched in central Ohio, along with the usual Covid protocols and have had to adjust our plans to celebrate All Hallows' Eve with the neighborhood children. In Columbus trick or treating is observed tonight rather than on the 31st. (I'm not sure why.)

For the last several years we've set up a labyrinth through the church and treated the trick-or-treaters at stations along the way, while teaching things about the Christian faith.

Due to Covid-19, we planned an outside event this year, a trunk or treat with decorating that taught Bible stories.

Now, due to the rain, we're on our third plan! We've set up a series of canopies on our lawn beside our sidewalk. These will be our stations, kept out of the rain. Our stations this year will teach:

God created the world.
Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin.
God promised the defeat of Satan.
God promised a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
The Savior died for our sins and rose again from the dead.

The team is putting together some cute and fun decorating ideas for the stations. It'll be interesting to see how many families come out, given Covid and the rain.
It’s great to see that your congregation’s observance of All Hallows Eve greatly differs from the secular world in which we live.


May God bless your activities… And perhaps give a pause in the rain to encourage more to participate in your witness to the community.
If necessary, there will be a peaceful transfer of power on Jan 20, 2021.

In the event election fraud is proven in the courts of our country, there will be an inauguration ceremony ... no transfer of power necessary.

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2020, 11:29:58 AM »
In all the parishes I have served; we observed Reformation Sunday with vigor, underlining the semper reformanda theme and noting that a lot has changed since 1517.
And we always observed All Saints Day, with candles commemorating those in the parish who have died in the past year (or sometimes those whom members wished to commemorate), and with what I would call "solemn high vespers" with lots of appropriate psalms and prayers in a mostly darkened church. We made a point of inviting those who had lost loved ones in the previous year, sometimes having another member offer to pick them up and bring them to the service.
It is still hard for me to sing "For All The Saints" without tears.
Retired ELCA pastor. Iowa born. Now in Minnesota. Missing NY/NJ and trips to Europe. I despise Daylight Savings Time which serves no purpose, disrupts my quotidian body clock and (I am reliably told) severely troubles cows and other huggable farm animals.

D. Engebretson

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2020, 11:33:53 AM »
We will read the names of all who were buried from this parish in the last 12 months (since last All Saints) in a special section preceding the prayers. Liturgy: Divine Service, Setting Three.  Hymns: Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones, By All Your Saints in Warfare, vss. 1, 4, 3, Thine the Amen, Thine the Praise (distribution), For All the Saints Who From Their Labors Rest, vss. 1, 2, 3, 7, 8.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 11:38:50 AM by D. Engebretson »
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2020, 11:37:39 AM »
It is still hard for me to sing "For All The Saints" without tears.

A number of years ago my wife and I were visiting my children on the other side of the state and had the chance to be guests in another church for All Saints.  We started singing "For All the Saints," and then had to stop part way through the hymn.  Both of us chocked up and neither of us could sing without crying.  Suddenly all the deaths of our parents and other family members came flooding back.  Tears of joy, for sure, but also delayed tears of grief.  I'm sure I will struggle this week again, even as I lead worship. 
Pastor Don Engebretson
St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2020, 11:42:53 AM »
Despite the fact that the Commemoration of Reformation is traditionally transferred to the Sunday preceding October 31, the Reformation should be included in the Triduum.

Media is currently bemoaning how bar and night club business will be adversely affected because of Covid. 

Surely the blessings of God through the Reformation are more worthy of our meditation and thoughts than Halloween which in addition to candy and goblins is a day for bar hopping and night clubbing😶.

The Reformation is typically dated from the 31st of October 1517 due to the fact that he may have posted his theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg on that day, taking advantage of the number of worshipers who would come to church and therefore see the posting.  Although most churches do not observe a true ''triduum" of All Saints, compressing all into one day, Reformation Sunday, in my opinion, works best on the Sunday preceding All Saints.  Reformation has nothing, liturgically speaking, to do with All Saints.
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St. Peter Lutheran Church of Polar (Antigo) WI

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2020, 12:07:28 PM »
When I was chaplain at the IC we would always light candles on the day (if it fell M-F), commemorating as many as had asked us to remember their loved ones before the Lord. And of course, we sang: “For All the Saints.”

In our parish, we don’t light candles, but we ring the tolling bell as each name that died in the past year is commemorated during the remembrance.

Schmemann is good on this remembrance thing: “One thing is without doubt: memory is man’s capacity to “resurrect the past,” to preserve knowledge of it within himself. But we must say precisely that this capacity is ambiguous. Actually, does its essence not lie in the fact that if, on the one hand, in memory the past is surely resurrected—through it, I see a man who some time ago passed from life, I feel in all particularities that morning when I met with him or the last time I saw him, and thus I can “collect” my life—then, on the other hand, it is resurrected precisely as past, that is, as unreturnable, so that in being realized through my memory the knowledge of this past is simultaneously a discovery of its absence in the present? Hence the sorrow inherent in memory. For, in the end, memory in man is nothing other than the knowledge, peculiar to man, of death, of the fact that “death and time rule on the earth.” That is why the gift of memory is ambiguous. Through it a man simultaneously “resurrects” the past and comes to know the shatteredness of his own life, “which, circling, vanishes in the mist.”...

And much later when he delivers the goods on the Gospel: “Salvation consists in this: that in Christ—perfect God and perfect man—memory comes to reign and is restored as a lifecreating power, and in remembering, man partakes not of the experience of the fall, mortality, and death, but of the overcoming of this fall through life everlasting. For Christ Himself is the incarnation and the gift to mankind of God’s memory in all its fullness—as love directed toward each man and toward all humanity, toward the world and all creation. He is the Savior because in His memory He remembers all, and gives His own life to all as their life. But being the incarnation of the memory of God, Christ is likewise the manifestation and fulfillment of man’s perfect remembrance of God, for in this memory—love, self-sacrifice, communion with the Father—is His entire life, the entire perfection of His humanity. The essence of our faith and the new life granted in it consists in Christ’s memory, realized in us through our memory of Christ. From the very first days of Christianity, to believe in Christ meant to remember him and keep him always in mind.... (from The Eucharist).

Oh, lots more. But I thought that bit fitting for All Saints and a blessing indeed, when the Church remembers in Christ those joined to Him who now live in Him and whom He will not forget but at His resurrection raise even in their bodies. “Remember, O Lord!”

He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel. Ps 98

He hath remembered his covenant for ever, the word which he commanded to a thousand generation. Psalm 105

He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered. Psalm 111

The Lord hath been mindful of us. Psalm 115

P.S. Shared this last All Saints, but it’s such a consolation, I’ll throw it out there again: https://youtu.be/ZZOkj6sjxis We used it at last Synodical Convention for the commemoration of the departed among the workers of Synod.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2020, 12:26:41 PM by Weedon »
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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2020, 12:43:43 PM »
There are many congregations, who, on All Saints Day, remember the members who had died during the previous year. Kennon Callahan (Dynamic Worship: Mission, Grace, Praise, and Power) raises an interesting point about this practice, and offers something in addition.

I once attended a Sunday morning worship that included a memorial service in which the congregation, once a year, remembered all those who had died during the previous year. At one point in the service the pastor thoughtfully read the names of each person who had died. As the names were read, the organ played softly in the background, and outside, the church bell tolled slowly. The service climaxed with a prayer of thanksgiving for those lives and a hymn of victory.

Afterward, when the pastor asked me what I thought of the service, I told him, “It was excellent, most helpful, most meaningful.” Then I asked him, “When do you do the same for each new baby born this past year, for each person who has discovered Christ during this past year, and for those who have significantly advanced God’s mission during this past year?”

“Oh,” he replied. “Well, when a baby is born, we place a rose on the altar.”

I said, “Yes. One rose, one service. And when a person dies, you often have flowers on the altar from the funeral service, and people take food over to help the family in the midst of their grief. You offer prayer for the person and the family during the illness; then you offer prayer for them on the Sunday following the funeral service. You do all these things for those experiencing grief at the end of a life. And you do this excellent memorial service once a year. You are celebrating the past. Celebrate the future as well.”
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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2020, 12:55:19 PM »
Remember, this is the Sunday when Daylight Savings Time has ended. 
Turn back your clocks an hour or you will miss church on Sunday - except in Arizona and a few other sensible places that have been blessedly exempted from the curse of time change.

The time change ritual is like suffering through jet lag without taking a trip.

A classmate of my wife's shared a meme that strikes home to many of a certain age:
"Receiving the gift of Time Change is like finding a free extra track on your Yoko Ono album".
You can take that either way you want, just keep it away from me!

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2020, 12:59:22 PM »
Remember, this is the Sunday when Daylight Savings Time has ended. 
Turn back your clocks an hour or you will miss church on Sunday - except in Arizona and a few other sensible places that have been blessedly exempted from the curse of time change.!

Actually you will be an hour early.

It is at "Spring forward" that one would be late...or on "Mediterranean (Greek, Syrian, Egyptian, etc) time".
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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2020, 01:21:20 PM »
During my Lutheran ministry the Hallowtide trilogy was celebrated by a service of solemn Vespers expanded with lessons, adapted from the Episcopal Book of Occasional Services on All Hallow's Eve.

All Saints' Sunday was conflated with All Souls' by remembering all of the faithful departed from the parish.  I adapted a custom begun by several predecessors of having one white carnation on the altar in an individual vase for each of the members deceased since the previous All Saints', as well as one for every non-member for whom I had officiated at their Funeral.

The adaptations were, first, to celebrate ad oriens so that the vases could be spread out on the larger east-wall altar but also to show that I was facing east, standing in solidarity with all those who were mourning.

Secondly, each flower was raised toward the end of the Eucharistic prayer (LBW III), and, as each name was read the tolling bell was struck once.  After the final words "and all Your saints" the tolling bell was struck thrice, as rapidly as possible.

When November 1 fell on a Sunday we would take things up a notch by having a brass quartet play the Ferguson arrangement of the liturgy.

Irrespective, the service would close with a procession to the oldest part of the church cemetery which was against the south wall of the nave, singing "O God, Our Help in Ages Past". 
Quote

ALL SAINTS’ DAY PROCESSION

Weather permitting, we will process from the  Nave outside to the old cemetery beside the Church building.  Please exit following the  Choir and ministers, beginning from the front pews.  If the weather does not permit an outdoor procession, we will conclude the service from the rear of the Nave --remain in your places.  We will repeat the verses of the hymn as needed until all arrive at the cemetery.


      Deacon:   Give them eternal rest, O Lord,
      PEOPLE:   AND LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE ON THEM FOREVER.
      Deacon:   Lord, let your lovingkindness be upon them
      PEOPLE:   WHO PUT THEIR TRUST IN YOU.
      Pastor:   Let us pray.      
         Merciful Father, hear our prayers and console us.  As we
         renew our faith in your Son, whom you raised from the
         dead, strengthen our hope that all our departed brothers     
                        and sisters will share in His resurrection, who
         lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
         now and forever,
      ALL:   AMEN.

      Deacon:   A reading from the letter of St. Paul
         to the Church at Corinth:

         Listen, I will tell you a mystery!  We will not all die, but we will             all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will changed.  For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.  When this perishable    body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts onimmortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled:
            “Death has been swallowed up in victory!”
            “Where, O death, is your victory?
              Where, O death, is your sting?”
         The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

      This is the word of the Lord!
   PEOPLE:   THANKS BE TO GOD!

   Deacon:   We acknowledge Christ the Lord through whom we
      hope that our lowly bodies will be made like his in glory
      as we pray:
      Christ, Son of the living God, who raised Lazarus, your
      friend from the dead, raise up to life and glory the dead
      whom you have redeemed through your precious
      blood.  Lord, in your mercy,
   PEOPLE:   HEAR OUR PRAYER.
   Deacon:   Christ, consoler of those who mourn, you dried the
      tears of the family of Lazarus, of the Widow’s Son, and
      the daughter of Jarius, comfort those who mourn for the
      dead.  Lord, in your mercy,
   PEOPLE:   HEAR OUR PRAYER.
   Deacon:   Christ, redeemer of the world, look on those who have
      no hope because they do not believe in you:   May your
      Holy Spirit bring them to faith in your resurrection and
      Life in the world to come.  Lord, in your mercy,
   PEOPLE:   HEAR OUR PRAYER.
   Pastor:   God our Father, we remember before you today your
      faithful servants, and we pray that, having opened to
      them the gates of larger life, you will receive them more
      and more into your joyful service, that, with all that have
      faithfully served you in the past, they may share in the
      eternal victory of Jesus Christ our Lord,
   ALL:   AMEN!
   Deacon:   Bow your heads and pray for God’s blessing.
      Pastor:   May God, to whose glory we celebrate this festival of all
         the saints, be now and evermore your guide and
         companion in the Way,
      PEOPLE:   AMEN.
      Pastor:   May God, who has bound us together in the company of
         the elect, in this age and the age to come, attend to the
         prayers of all his faithful servants,
      PEOPLE:   AMEN.
      Pastor:   May God, who has given us, in the lives of his saints,
         patterns of holy living and victorious dying, strengthen
         your faith and devotion, and enable you to bear witness
         to the truth against all adversaries,
      PEOPLE:   AMEN.
      Pastor:   May God give you grace to follow his blessed saints in
         lives of faith and hope and love, and the blessing of God Almighty,
                      + the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be
         among you and remain  with you always,
      PEOPLE:   AMEN.   
      Deacon:   Let us go forth
         In the goodness of our merciful Father,
         In the gentleness of our brother Jesus,
         In the radiance of his Holy Spirit,
         In the faith of the apostles,
         In the joyful praise of the angels,
         In the holiness of the saints,
         In the courage of the martyrs.
         Go in peace.  Serve the Lord!
      PEOPLE:   THANKS BE TO GOD!

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Randy Bosch

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Re: Halloween, All Saints, All Souls
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2020, 01:49:04 PM »
Remember, this is the Sunday when Daylight Savings Time has ended. 
Turn back your clocks an hour or you will miss church on Sunday - except in Arizona and a few other sensible places that have been blessedly exempted from the curse of time change.!

Actually you will be an hour early.

It is at "Spring forward" that one would be late...or on "Mediterranean (Greek, Syrian, Egyptian, etc) time".

Thanks for the correction!  Haven't lived under "Daylight Savings Time for 9 years, forgot the Spring Forward, Fall Back dictum!