This All Saints Day was awesome! We melded the traditions the Spanish brought over to Mexico with our American / Christmas traditions. There are so many traditions that we have brought together into a worship service. We have brought them togther to pray to our Lord and Savior for our for our loved ones who have made the most awesome trip we are all waiting to make. They have passed over from this world to a city ruled with love, perfect justice and all your needs serve before you ever think you need to be served. I made the effort to lead the customs of our Garden Ridge worship. It is my second third time combining All Saints Day with Dia de Muertos and Halloween. Luckily for me, there is a long tradition of combining these holidays. Christians long ago came up with All Saints Day to convert the pagan practice of worshiping our ancestors in Europe. All Saints Day has always been the beginning of the season of death, winter, and praying that life will come back again, spring. Things die in the Fall, stay dead in the winter and come back to life in the spring. It is this thinking that led us Germans to bring evergreen trees into our houses as a symbol of life. When everything else was dead the evergreens still alive, reminding our ancestors that life would come back to the world in the spring. Martin Luther is credited with turning this a ritual into the Christmas tree we put on our altars every Christmas season.
This All Saints Day, I chose to remember my Grandfather Nolen Fredrick Biehler. I found a picture of him. I thought of a great story about him. I lived with Grandma and Grandpa Biehler when I started working towards the Seminary. I love popcorn with lots of butter. It turns out so did my Grandfather. We both liked it with the more butter the better. Grandpa had several strokes and was not doing so well. I was trying to help Grandma take care of him. Even though he was mostly out of it, every time I made popcorn he would perk up. He would ask for a bowl of the popped corn, as he called it. It felt really good to give him something he liked. The moments he was coherent and excited about life were very rare. So, this week, while I was preparing our All Saints Day prayer service, I had a chance to remember this great story about my Grandfather who really loved me. This formerly pagan ritual, gave me the blessing of remembering this great story and how much I loved my Grandfather. I put some cheese flavored popcorn on the altar and told the story of my Grandfather over and over. I even used cheese popcorn to remind me of another great story about my Grandfather who always perk up when I cam around. We prayed for many of our congregations departed loved ones and we got to learn about each other and our families who loved us. What a great day! Jesus bring us together and shares things with us that are unexpected in such unexpected ways. Thank you Lord Jesus, for my family, for my friends and for all the wonderful people you have put in my life. I pray that everyone I know and love will find their dwelling with you in total peace for all eternity. P.S. thanks for the memories.