The Great Cloud of Witnesses

Communion of Saints, artist unknown

Autumn has always been my favorite time of year. Since childhood I have loved to witness the changing of the seasons, the turning of the leaves, and the beginning of the holidays. As I grew older, I also came to deeply appreciate the sacred beauty of the dying leaves and the hope that the trees will later bloom again with new life.

I am particularly appreciative for this upcoming autumn week that holds some festive days. All Saints or All Souls, which we will honor this Sunday, is a day when we are invited to remember the “great cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1) that have gone before us, yet in some mysterious way still bless and journey with us. Afterwards, Día de los Muertos takes place on November 1st and 2nd, a Mexican holiday that is often described as a “fiesta where all the dead relatives come to party with you.” Among all these traditions, there is the insistence that the veil between the living and the dead is a little thinner during this time of year.

As you continue to move though this season, I invite you to consider who lingers close to your memory? Who walked with you in such a way that challenged, inspired, and shaped the path that you travel today? Remembering that in these days, the veil thins not only towards the past but also towards the future; how are you moving through this life in a way that will help make possible the paths of those who follow?

We will reflect further on our connections to all the souls and saints forever held with us in God’s love, as we conclude our sermon series, Re-connect. See you on Facebook Live!

Rev. Paul Ortiz