Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rise Up, O Saints of God

Two years ago, I woke up in Arizona to find the sky filled with hot air balloons. It was All Saints Sunday, but a local balloon festival was preaching resurrection well before I arrived at church. That image is hard to forget, colors rising and people slowing to stare at the heavens in awe.

This morning we awoke with an extra hour of sleep to sunny skies and fall colors that refuse to fade into winter just yet. I slipped under a chasuble for the first time, blanketed in white and prepared to read the names of those we have lost this year. There was much to do before the service and, for the first time since arriving at St. John's, I didn't think to wish for filled pews and new faces.

I couldn't stop smiling during worship because the kids poured up front for the children's sermon and the choir boasted a few more voices than usual. There were a lot of people here! Was it the extra sleep or the warm weather that brought these saints? Or was it the Spirit, visiting us in our dreams and blowing through autumn?

The crowd was a dear reminder that, regardless of the number in the pews each week, our voices join with all the saints across space and time. Sometimes we feel small, but we are part of something vast and dynamic in the world. Made whole in the Body of Christ, our prayers rise like desert balloons, colored brightly and dancing together.

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