Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This coming Sunday we remember the Saints of Christian history – and of our own lives. We will pause, in the midst of everything around us and within us, to acknowledge the presence of the communion of Saints. We will feel the love of a ‘Cloud of Witnesses’ who are, actually, with us all the time.
Certainly, we take inspiration from those Saints of our faith, who have, in the words of St. Paul, “run the race with perseverance!” Their example of following Jesus – in complex and painful times in human history – can nourish our following of Jesus in our own equally complex and painful time.
The Collect from the Book of Common Prayer for this Sunday names the ‘mystical body’ that is the Church, the body of Christ:
All Saint's Day November 1
“Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one
communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son
Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints
in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those
ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love
you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy
Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.”
All Saints Day is a mystical day. A day when the veil between this life and the next is more transparent. We glimpse eternity. On All Saints Sunday, we will read, prayerfully, names that we have all submitted … names of those who are Saints in our own lives and memories. Poet May Sarton has a lovely poem about ‘All Souls.’ Here is one stanza:
“Now the dead move through all of us still glowing,
Mother and child, lover and lover mated,
Are wound and bound together and enflowing.
What has been plaited cannot be unplaited--
Only the strands grow richer with each loss
And memory makes kings and queens of us.”
We are enriched indeed by the memories of love that transformed our lives; love that lives on still, and always will.
This year, on All Saints Sunday, we will pray from the Sanctuary will all those worshiping with us online … yet another mystical connection in the body of Christ made possible through amazing live-streaming technology!
I want to highlight a paradigm shift we are living. Live-streaming worship, available on-line, is our primary worship offering at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. Let me say it again. The live-stream is our primary offering of worship. Participate in it through our website, through our Facebook page.
Inviting a few people – 25% of our capacity – to pray in the Sanctuary is part of making that live-stream worship happen for all of you. The mystical connection of the body of Christ – through space and time and history – in this life and the life to come – through technology! We are connected whether we are in the Sanctuary or not!
I encourage you to remain safe. Worship with us online. Our leadership has, this fall, discerned a need for some who wish to worship in the Sanctuary to do so, following rigorous safety protocols. The timeline of that discernment is unfortunately accompanying a timeline of what could be an autumn surge in virus levels around us.
The Wardens and I are tracking a state map, which shows virus levels on a town-by-town basis. Yellow is caution, orange is a growing threat, red is threat. If Newtown turns yellow, we will – with love! – no longer invite people to the Sanctuary to be part of live-stream worship. Live-stream will continue to be our primary worship offering. And we will get through this pandemic, together.
The Rev. andrea castner wyatt
The Rev. Andrea Castner Wyatt is honored to accept the call of Trinity Episcopal Church to serve and lead as Rector. She looks forward with joy to walking with the people of Trinity Church, and to discovering with you what Jesus is up to in Newtown, CT. Contact Rev. Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-426-9070.