All Saints Day and Samhain

Michele and Colin led us for the first time at the bandstand looking at both all Saints day and the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced ‘sow’inn’) and the word for November in some Gaelic languages) as the celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture, sometimes regarded as the ‘Celtic New Year’.

Samhain has been celebrated in Britain for centuries and has its origin in Pagan Celtic traditions. It was the time of year when the veils between this world and the Otherworld were believed to be at their thinnest: when the spirits of the dead could most readily mingle with the living once again. Later, when the festival was adopted by Christians, they celebrated it as All Hallows’ Eve, followed by All Saints Day, though it still retained elements of remembering and honouring the dead.

We used words focusing on nature, seasons and God’s provision as well as on those who have gone before us. Here’s a taste of some of that:

For summer’s passingand harvest home  WE THANK YOU

For autumn’s splendor and winter’s chill  WE THANK YOU

For seed that has fallen the promise of spring  WE THANK YOU

As a part of nature’s wondrous cycle

Of new birth, growth, fruitfulness and death

We rejoice in the creation of new life,

For parenthood, the passing on of knowledge,

For understanding and the wisdom of years.

We are grateful for those who have gone before

Passing on to us our spiritual heritage.

May our lives blossom as the apple tree in Spring

May we become fruitful in thought and deed

And may the seed of love that falls to the ground

Linger beyond our time on this earth.

For fruitfulness  WE THANK YOU

For a generous spirit WE THANK YOU

For wisdom and faith WE THANK YOU

For old age and new birth  WE THANK YOU

For those who have gone before us

Seeds planted in your rich pasture

With the hope of life eternal

May their enduring spirit live on

Enriching and empowering our lives

Their love linger

Their presence be near

Until we meet once more.

For your embracing love

A Father’s love

A Mother’s love

The love that sees our failings

And forgives us

The love that sees our joys

And embraces us

The love that knows no end or beginning

A love that could die for us

We bless you. WE BLESS YOU

And this was more than words. We met with Tony, Frances and Charlotte for the first time since the diagnosis of Tony’s inoperable secondary cancer. Nothing can describe the poignancy of lighting the Chinese lantern and watching it rise so high into the blue sky taking with it our prayers and hope for him and for them.

Prayer can be hard work!

And then it can suddenly happen

And then we let go

Wonderful too the writing of names with sparklers – names of those to whom we owed a debt for the inspiration they have given to us on our journey of faith…

A deeply special time of worship and fellowship, of true community. Thanks Michele and Colin!