Twenty-Fourth Sunday after Pentecost / All Saints Sunday
Week of: November 4, 2018
Scripture: Ruth 1:1-18
May the LORD deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead and with me.
(Ruth 1:8b, NRSV)
Blessing them with kindness, Naomi attempts to send her daughters-in-law home into a more promising future than she can offer. As we light candles for those who have joined the great cloud of witnesses, I stand in need of Naomi’s blessing. This year, I’m on the grieving end of All Saints Day with a deeper understanding of the need for kindness during seasons of grief. Both my parents died within the last year, and I know firsthand how grief makes us vulnerable.
Grieving has given me a fresh perspective on worship. In particular, I understand the importance of worship arts because they give expression to feelings too deep for words. Beautiful visuals and compelling dances serve as salve for hearts tender with loss. Liturgy that celebrates and honors the saints strengthens our connection to one another and to those who have gone on to glory. Music provides experiences and acceptance of both grief and gratitude for the lives of loved ones who have shaped us and are no longer here. The worship arts connect us to God who is the source of all healing. They are generous acts of kindness.
As we celebrate All Saints Day, who among you is in need of Naomi’s blessing of kindness?
Comforting God, in kindness you provided companionship for a grieving Naomi. Help us offer comfort to the grieving through beauty, liturgy, music, and movement. Amen.
Retired Elder, Virginia Conference of The UMC
Affiliate Faculty, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
Photo: A candle display created by Rev. Dr. Karla Kincannon, our Reflection author, is shown in the chancel prior to an evening worship service at Awaken 2017 in Little Rock. (Fellowship photo by Daniel Craig.)