Countless children in the areas of seasonal storms across the United States walked around downcast Thursday night and Friday morning when the bad weather forced cancellation of their Halloween trick-or-treat rounds.
Parents and other adults who had stocked up on the sweet treats that are traditional fare for children wondered Friday what in the world they would do with the leftover candy – especially how to avoid eating it themselves and keep it away from children who would like to have an unlimited supply.
Regardless of the weather, most church people in the United States won’t deal with those emotions if inclement weather dampens, usually within church sanctuaries and sometimes in cemeteries, of All Saints Day, which was Nov. 1, but will be commemorated Sunday as a matter of calendrical convenience.
Many churches in the United States celebrate All Saints’ Day to honor all the saints, the faithful who have died and are fondly remembered in what a familiar hymn calls a “mystic sweet communion with those whose rest is won.” It is memory and ritual combined.
All Saints has been celebrated for more than a thousand years, but it it undoubtedly descended from older, pagan holidays eventually supplanted and infused by Christian observance.
As a practical and personal matter, observing All Saints often is more than formal ritual.
The noted writer, Frederick Buechner, says All Saints is more than we normally consider:
“On All Saints’ Day, it is not just the saints of the church that we should remember in our prayers, but all the foolish ones and wise ones, the shy ones and overbearing ones, the broken ones and whole ones, the despots and tosspots and crackpots of our lives who, one way or another, have been our particular fathers and mothers and saints, and whom we loved without knowing we loved them and by whom we were helped to whatever little we may have, or ever hope to have, of some kind of seedy sainthood of our own.”
What Buechner describes sounds like the imperfect saints who were called by Jesus of Nazareth to follow him in a new way of love, faith and good deeds. They weren’t much to look at or celebrate at first, but in retrospect, thanks be to God, they did as they were called, and millions now emulate them in faith.