Sermon by Rev. Shawn Newton.
At this time of year, with the harvest’s end and the falling of leaves, the cycles of life are on full display. It is no coincidence that many cultures, especially in the Northern Hemisphere, turn to ceremonies in this season to honour the dead and reflect on life’s fragility. This Sunday, as we do each year on the Sunday closest to November 1st, we will mark the tradition known by many names—Samhain, All Souls, the Day of Remembrance, Dia de los Muertos—by lifting up the names of those who have died.
Because we will be gathered online, with each of us in our own homes, it will not be possible to create an Altar of Memory in our sanctuary, adorned with photos of loved ones who have died and candles burning in their honour. Each of us, though, can create sacred space at home. In preparation for this week’s service, you might consider setting up a small altar in the room you’ll be in when attending Sunday’s service. Gather up photos of loved ones who are no longer with us and perhaps candles, as well. You might also include mementos or other keepsakes that remind you of the people you wish to remember this year.
My sermon will reflect on the ways that our ancestors shape us, and how we, as ancestors-to-be, give shape to the unfolding of the world. Tahirih Vejdani will share with us the song “Remember Me” from the movie Coco (a wonderful, beautiful animated film about Dia de los Muertos), and Peter Brydon will tell a very moving story. I hope you’ll plan to be with us.
Finally, these are difficult days for most everyone. Be gentle with yourselves and each other.
In faith and love,