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  • Zach Dyrda

Three Day Fall Festival for the Church Part 3: All Soul's Day

I find it super interesting that we have a fall festival in the church that we really do not celebrate. Traditionally the church celebrates a group of holidays or a festival during the fall. Much like in the spring, the church has three consecutive days of holidays to celebrate. In the spring, the festival is Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. Our FALL FESTIVAL is All Hallows Eve, All Saint's Day, and All Soul's Day. Each day has a meaning and a reason for existing.

This week's blog is focusing on All Soul's Day. I feel like All Soul's Day is a day that every culture has and celebrates. It is a day that we remember our dead. All Soul's Day is about remembering and celebrating our loved ones who have died. I feel that there is something holy, knowing that many cultures have traditions that celebrate the passing of loved ones. As Christians, we recognize that it was not God's intention to see humans pass away. At the center of our story, humans were always meant to be with living God. We fail to be image-bearers when we can no longer represent the living God. So we, as a people, recognize this injustice and mourn. We also celebrate because we know death does not have the last word.

I also believe All Soul's Day teaches us what it means to be human. To be human is to have and experience emotions. When someone dies, there are tremendous emotions that a person goes through. God encourages us to feel and express all our emotions. There are moments of sadness, joy, grief, anxiety, and feelings of abandonment in the psalms. As a people, we thought it was important to celebrate a day that allows us to express our emotions when it comes to our loved ones who are departed. We celebrate All Soul's Day to live into what it means to be truly human, celebrate and remember our loved ones who died, and center our and the departed stories on Jesus.

Finally, I believe we do this because of community. It never stops amazings me that at its core, church brings people together. Jesus prayed for unity in his church and this holiday definitly does that. A church I have attended on this day would ask for names of people to pray for on All Soul's Day. The church hangs the names of the people from the ceiling of the sanctuary as we celebrate the holiday. It is a cloud of witnesses and love. However, it is equally a reminder of the life we share together. The names hanging from the ceiling remind everyone in the church that we are bound together by experience. Many of us have experienced the loss of a loved one at some point in our lives. There is a deep connection that is formed with the people in the room when you recognize this. There is also something comforting to know that if you have not experienced the death of a loved one yet, that the community annually tells you they will be there for you.

For me, a good holiday does three things. First, it focuses us on Jesus and his story. It should be the gospel. It should announce who Jesus is and tell his story. Second, a good holiday seeks to transform us. It should challenge our world views and get us to think outside of our self-centered worlds. Finally, a good holiday connects us. A good holiday not only connects us to Jesus but also our neighbors. We should feel the pull to not only love our family and friends but feel a deep connection with the rest of humanity.

Hav eyou ever celebrated All Soul's Day? As we have now finished the Fall Festival Blog series, how do you feel about it? Would you like to celebrate the Fall Festival in your community?


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