Sophia says: "Earlier this week the U.S. celebrated Veterans' Day, known in many other countries as Remembrance Day. At this time last year I was commuting to a postdoc in Canada, and I was moved by the many red poppies that showed up there on people's lapels in honor of the observance. Unlike a flag lapel pin, which to me has political connotations and implies approval of our current war, the poppies simply honor the sacrifice and dedication of those who have followed their consciences by serving--sometimes dying--in the military.This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day."
1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? We celebrate All Saints/All Souls as we always do, by having a space in our service for people to come and light candles and say prayers for loved ones who have died. Before the service, a table is set up with votives and people are invited to fill out a small card with the name of their loved one and place it before the candle they will light. This year in addition to my family members and friends I began my own tradition of lighting candles for those whom I have I celebrated funerals.
2. How about Veterans' Day? Our church doesn't do anything special, but personally I just take some time to pray for those who have and are making this sacrifice for us.
3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? No, it was a work day.
4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? One of my "special" vets is someone I've mentioned before...a client who is a Nam vet who is discerning a kind of second call vocation to peace and social justice after a career working with vets. We have some very wonderful and wide-ranging discussions and I see the Spirit alive and at work in his life. I also see the pain that still remains and profoundly impacts him from his Viet Nam experiences and his resulting life with PTSD.
5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? I don't know that I have rituals as such, but I talk to my mother all the time. And when I am celebrating the Eucharist I often have an experience of feeling a crowd of presences around me that I presume are those who have worshipped in that space for years before...or perhaps others who have just come to join us that day for the communion of saints.