We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Veterans’s Day, Nov. 11

1. “Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares”                                    
2. “Tragedy of War”-Michael LaPalme

Veterans’ Day, November 11  

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War I (called the Great War) ends.

On November 11, 2018 at the beginning of the worship service, we along with many Americans will toll bells in remembrance of those who served and sacrificed.

From a Litany for Veterans by Robb McCoy-“God of love, peace and justice, it is your will for the world that we may live together in peace. You have promised through the prophet Isaiah that one day the swords will be beaten into plow shares. Yet we live in a broken world, and there are times that war seems inevitable. Let us recognize with humility and sadness the tragic loss of life that comes in war. Even so, as we gather here free from persecution, we may give thanks for those that have served with courage and honor. ”  Here is an English Veterans’ Service.

All gave some, Some gave all.


While the US has “Veterans’ Day” celebrating and honoring all veterans who have served, Europe and Canada has “Remembrance Day” about the end of World War I  on November 11, 1918.  The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields”. These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I; their brilliant red color became a symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

Mark Knopfler wrote “Remembrance Day” about this day. The song and  illustrated slideshow are here .

From “Remembrance Day”

“Time has slipped away The Summer sky to Autumn yields A haze of smoke across the fields Let’s sup and fight another round And walk the stubbled ground

“When November brings The poppies on Remembrance Day When the vicar comes to say May God bless everyone Lest we forget our sons

“We will remember them Remember them Remember them”

All Saints, Year C

I.Theme –  Celebrating the People of God 

 "Peaceable Kingdom" -Beerhorst (2011)

The lectionary readings are here  or individually:


Old Testament – Daniel 7:1-3,15-18
Psalm – Psalm 149 BCP Page 807
Epistle –Ephesians 1:11-23
Gospel – Luke 6:20-31

All Saint’s Days commemorates not only all the martyrs but all the people of God, living and dead, who form the mystical body of Christ

From Daniel, all that is left is the notion that the events of human history, no matter how disturbing, are irrelevant to God, and to God’s holy ones, who will prevail in the end. 

The saints have come to know God, not by their own efforts, but by the power of God in Christ. Those who have put their lives in Christ’s hands should trust the one whom God has made the head of all things for the church which is his body.  The Psalm emphasizes the praise response we should have. 

The Gospel reminds us that the Christian hope is not in this world or in the things of this world. In fact, it is not even in the apocalyptic reversal of fortunes, as much as that is a part of the Gospel of Luke, and may be a part of the hope of believers. Rather it is in the Father’s mercy toward us, in the Son’s surrender to death, in the power of the Spirit in our lives leading us to act as God’s children that our hope lies.



II. Summary

Daniel

The book is set in the days of the exile in Babylon. Daniel is a famous character from that time; according to Ezekiel, he was renowned for his piety and wisdom. The book was written about 165 BC, in Daniel’s name, to give hope to people who suffer persecution under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, a Hellenistic ruler who tried to eliminate Judaism. Our reading is of a vision: earthly kingdoms will pass to make way for the kingdom of God. It presents past events as though in the future and continues slightly into the future.

Out of the primordial “sea” (v. 2), the chaotic “deep” of Genesis 1:2, stirred up by the spirit of God (“winds of heaven”), Daniel sees four beasts arise – all agents of God. The first three are like a “lion” (v. 4), “bear” (v. 5) and “leopard” (v. 6). The fourth beast is too horrible to be likened to any animal; it has horns. Another small horn appears, symbolizing Antiochus. Thrones are set in place and God (“an Ancient One”, v. 9) takes his place, surrounded by attendants; his court sits in judgement. The fourth beast is put to death; the second and third are allowed to linger on. Then “one like a human being” (v. 13, or a son of man) comes from heaven and is presented to God, who gives him a universal, eternal, unconquerable kingdom (v. 14). (Christians saw this figure as the messiah, Christ, but to Jews he represented the archangel Michael and faithful Jews.) The interpretation begins in v. 16. King and kingdom are used interchangeably, so the “four great beasts” (v. 17) symbolize world powers that dominated Israel: Babylon, Medea, Persia and the Seleucids.

The “holy ones of the Most High” (v. 18) are Jews who defied Antiochus’ decrees against Judaism; there will again be an independent Jewish state which will last for ever. The current persecutions will end. God has permitted Israel to be conquered, but will act soon to rescue his people  

Psalm  

All creation blesses God.

This psalm was used in a liturgical setting: note “assembly of the faithful”. Worshippers are invited to sing “a new song”, perhaps new because God continually reveals more of himself to the faithful. V. 3 tells us that hymns were accompanied by “dancing”, the “tambourine” and the “lyre”. Praise him because he delights in his people and gives victory (in some sense) to those who hold him in awe. (In v. 5 “glory” is a divine title.) May “the faithful” even “sing for joy” in their homes (“on their couches”). Vv. 6-9 appear to be a call to battle, to a holy war: may God’s people execute on “nations” (v. 7) and “peoples” the “judgement decreed” (v. 9) by God.

Ephesians

Paul writes to the “saints” (v. 1), those faithful to Christ in Ephesus. He gives thanks for the blessings we have received through Christ: bringing us into union with God;

choosing us (v. 4), before his creative act, to be set apart for him; and

as part of his plan, adopting us “as his children” (v. 5) – all of this through the love he expressed in sending Jesus.

Through Christ’s birth, life and resurrection we are absolved of our deviations from God’s ways. Intellectually and through our experience of the Christian way we have come to know God’s plan, i.e. to “gather up” (v. 10) all he has created, seen and unseen, to him.

Now Paul returns to adoption: we are offspring (inheritors) of God, and as such are forerunners (“the first”, v. 12) of many who will come to Christ, living to praise God. Paul has been writing to mature Christians; now, in vv. 13-18, Paul speaks to neophytes in the faith, “as you come to know him” (v. 17), both Jews and Greeks (“you” is plural). “You” were marked as God’s in baptism; it is the guarantee (“pledge”, v. 14) of being God’s children – those who, saved from sin, will have full union with God (“redemption”). Paul gives thanks for the fraternal “love” (v. 15) they have for all members of the Church (“saints”).

May you too grow in knowledge and experience of God (“wisdom”, v. 17) and receive new understandings of how God works in the world (“revelation”), so that you may come to know:

-the future joy (“hope”, v. 18) to which God has called you;  

-what it means to be joined in God with heavenly beings (“saints”); and  

-how much Christians can achieve using God’s power.  

Christ is now raised and equal to the Father; he is above all angelic beings (“rule … dominion”, v. 21); now God’s power acts through him eternally. Christ is “head” (v. 22) of the Church; it is his “body” (v. 23) – the “head” needs the “body”, and the “body” the “head”.

Luke

This is the Luke version of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount. Matthew has a much more elaborate sermon, and it on the mount, the place of revelation and transcendence. Luke has the sermon on the level place, among the people, talking to them about how to live in this world.

There’s two categories: the multitude and a crowd of disciples. The disciples are those who believe, while the multitude are the curious. These categories are important to keep in mind for vs. 20: "Then he looked up at his disciples and said…" He’s only talking to the disciples. When we hear this passage, it’s almost instinctual for us to assume that it divides between how Christians behave and how non-Christians behave. But in directing this to the disciples, he’s talking about the Christian community. Luke’s community has lots of rich people, lots of well-fed people. 

In the presence of many people from Israel and beyond, Jesus speaks to his followers. Luke tells us of four beatitudes (vv. 20-22) and corresponding woes or warnings of deprivation in the age to come. Some are “blessed” (happy) by being included in the Kingdom Jesus brings. The warnings are prophecies, cautions. The pairs are:

the “poor” (v. 20) and the “rich” (v. 24);

the “hungry” (v. 21a) and the “full” (v. 25a);

the sorrowful (v. 21b) and the joyous (v. 25b); and

the persecuted (v. 22) and the popular (v. 26).

Note that the first one is in the present tense and second and third in a future tense.

Luke’s audience of disciples is generally agreed upon to have contained the greatest number of wealthy folks. It is not a coincidence, then, that Luke’s gospel has by far the most challenges to disciples about material possessions. It would seem strange for Luke to direct a message to his wealthy congregants that describes some ultimate new order that leaves them woefully on the outside. It makes more sense that he would lift up a pen-ultimate reversing of this world’s order as a needed challenge to coax such members into beginning to live in God’s order today. Their wealth is a woeful stumbling block to their opening themselves to God’s cultural order.

The “poor” are those who acknowledge their dependence on God. The “rich” do not want to commit themselves to Jesus and the Kingdom; they are comfortable in their self-sufficiency. The word translated “consolation” (v. 24) is a financial term: they do not realize what they owe to Jesus.  

If we understand that God’s kingdom, God’s culture, is one not based on such divisions, then we are already blessed. God’s cultural order does not depend on divisions between rich and poor.

The “hungry” hunger for the word of God, the good news; the “full” are satisfied. What will the hungry be filled with? Filled with a sense of joy and meaning once you know what your life of simplicity, poverty, even hardship means in the larger context.

In v. 22, “exclude” means being socially ostracized and excluded from the synagogue and Temple.

The “Son of Man” includes Jesus and his followers: they will be persecuted, as Israel (“their ancestors”, v. 23) persecuted Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos, but “in that day” (at the end of the era), they will be rewarded. Jeremiah 5:31 says that people spoke well of “false prophets” (v. 26). In vv. 27-29, Jesus expands on v. 22; he tells how to deal with persecution. Followers (“you that listen”) should be willing to give all (even to standing naked, without an inner garment, “shirt”.) When you give, do not expect reciprocity (“again”, v. 30). Emulate God in your actions; seek to match his compassion! 


In our passage for study today, Jesus encourages us to be loving, not just loving toward people we like, but loving toward people we don’t like, even people who have hurt us. Jesus’ focus is probably on the Christian fellowship, he is talking about relationships within the church, but his words extend beyond the Christian fellowship to our extended family, neighbors, work-mates and the like. Of course, "love" is a bit of an airy-fairy word and so maybe we would do better using the word "compassion". Even so, the final two verses in our passage give us the nuts and bolts of love. Love involves not judging people, not condemning people, but rather being forgiving and generous. So, in these words Jesus has given us an ethical guide to the Christian life, but, he has also done something else.

Earle Ellis in his commentary on Luke states: "the effect of Christian love in a person is in exact proportion to their practice of it." That is, the measure in which a believer receives God’s grace is in direct proportion to their practice of graciousness toward others. Inevitably, the demand for such love serves to undermine any notion of self-righteousness. Who is there that can be "merciful, just as (our) Father is merciful"? If the "measure we use" is the measure we get, then we are in trouble when we have to face up to the day of judgment. We are in dire need of receiving a gracious mercy from God that transcends our constant failure.

In these exhortations from Jesus’ Great Sermon we can again observe the two functions of the law, namely, to lead us to Christ and to give direction in our Christian life.

The law serves to remind us of our own unworthiness. In reality, we can’t love as Christ demands. If gaining God’s forgiveness depends on our ability to forgive others, then we are in trouble. With our sin before us we are reminded that our standing before God is not dependent on our own limited obedience, but on Christ’s perfect obedience. The best we can do is seek out the Nazarene and find mercy in the one whose capacity to forgive is unbounded.

The law also serves to give direction in our Christian life, a direction motivated and shaped by the indwelling compelling of the Spirit of Christ. The law reminds us to "be what we are." So, Jesus’ exhortation to "unreasonable compassion", or more particularly forgiveness, sets before us a quality of discipleship well beyond the norm. Although we can never reach such an ideal, in the power of the indwelling Christ, we can certainly press toward it.

So How is All Saints Day (Nov. 1) related to All Souls Day (Nov. 2) ?

As the Western Church spread into northern Europe, it encountered pagan festivals held in late autumn to appease the evil spirits associated with the first killing frosts and the coming of winter, darkness and death.

The Catholic Church had a long-standing policy of incorporating non-Christian traditions into its holidays in order to bring people into the Catholic faith.

In any case, when All Saints’ Day moved to November 1, the church did begin to incorporate supernatural traditions into the holy day’s activities, ideas that don’t have much of a place in Christianity.

Many supernatural ideas persisted in All Saints’ Day Eve celebrations, making the occasion a remarkable combination of Christian and pagan beliefs. At the end of the 10th century, the church tried to give these traditions a little more direction by establishing All Souls’ Day, an occasion to recognize all Christian dead.

Thus, All Souls began with the emphasis on remembering those who had died, broader than just the martyrs. In addition it was cast wide into Catholic theology. In that tradition , the church commemorated all of those who have died and now are in Purgatory, being cleansed of their venial (forgiven) sins and the temporal punishments for the mortal sins that they had confessed and atoning before entering fully into Heaven.

The importance of All Souls Day was made clear by Pope Benedict XV (1914-22), when he granted all priests the privilege of celebrating three Masses on All Souls Day: one, for the faithful departed; one for the priest’s intentions; and one for the intentions of the Holy Father. Only on a handful of other very important feast days are priests allowed to celebrate more than two Masses.

All Souls originally was celebrated in the Easter season, around Pentecost Sunday (and still is in the Eastern Catholic Churches). By the tenth century, the celebration had been moved to October; and sometime between 998 and 1030, St. Odilo of Cluny decreed that it should be celebrated on November 2 in all of the monasteries of his Benedictine congregation. Over the next two centuries, other Benedictines and the Carthusians began to celebrate it in their monasteries as well, and soon it spread to the entire Church.

All Souls is celebrated with Masses and festivities in honor of the dead. The living pray on behalf of Christians who are in purgatory, the state in the afterlife where souls are purified before proceeding to heaven. Souls in purgatory, who are members of the church just like living Christians, must suffer so that they can be purged of their sins. Through prayer and good works, living members of the church may help their departed friends and family. There are two plenary indulgences ( full remission of the punishment due to sin ) attached to All Souls Day, one for visiting a church and another for visiting a cemetery.

Soul Cake!

In medieval times, one popular All Souls’ Day practice was to make “soul cakes,” simple bread desserts with a currant topping. In a custom called “souling,” children would go door-to-door begging for the cakes, much like modern trick-or- treaters. After its introduction, this holiday did sate many Catholics’ interest in death and the supernatural.

Here is a recipe for Soul Cake

There is a traditional song that accompanies soul cakes:

1. In 2009, Sting put out an album “If On a Winter’s Night”. It had a rendition of “Soul Cake”. This is a live version in England’s Durham Cathedral.

Here are the lyrics

2. Earlier in 1965 Peter Paul and Mary did “A Soalin”


But the unchristian idea of wandering spirits persisted in some areas, Conceding that they could not completely get rid of the supernatural elements of the celebrations, the Catholic Church began characterizing the spirits as evil forces associated with the devil. This is where we get a lot of the more disturbing Halloween imagery, such as evil witches and demons.

How do we get halloween (Oct. 31) from All Saints (Nov. 1) and All Souls(Nov.2) days ?

What is the Halloween connection ?

Halloween originated in Celtic cultures and  spread to Christian.

The word Halloween is a contracted form for All Hallows’ (holy persons or saints) Evening- the day before All Saints.  

Halloween has been on Oct 31 because of the Celtic traditions.   Halloween also focused on death but on the  concept of death blending in the supernatural.    The Church scheduled All Saints and All Souls after Halloween.   The emphasis on All Soul’s  focused on those who had died only and did not dwell on stories surrounding death.

All Soul’s did  satisfy many Catholics’ interest in death and the supernatural. But the unchristian idea of wandering spirits persisted in some areas. Conceding that they could not completely get rid of the supernatural elements of the celebrations, the Catholic Church began characterizing the spirits as evil forces associated with the devil. 

Celtic Tradition

Nov. 1 marked Samhain, the beginning of the Celtic winter. (The Celts lived as early as 2,000 years ago in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and northern France.) Samhain, for whom the feast was named, was the Celtic lord of death, and his name literally meant “summer’s end.” Since winter is the season of cold, darkness and death, the Celts soon made the connection with human death.

The eve of Samhain, Oct. 31, was a time of Celtic pagan sacrifice, and Samhain allowed the souls of the dead to return to their earthly homes that evening. Ghosts, witches, goblins and elves came to harm the people, particularly those who had inflicted harm on them in this life. Cats, too, were considered sacred because they had once been human beings who had been changed as a punishment for their evil deeds on this earth

The Roman conquest of England brought two other festivals commemorating the dead

In medieval times, one popular All Souls’ Day practice was to make “soul cakes,” simple bread desserts with a currant topping. In a custom called “souling,” children would go door-to-door begging for the cakes, much like modern trick-or-treaters. For every cake a child collected, he or she would have to say a prayer for the dead relatives of the person who gave the cake. These prayers would help the relatives find their way out of purgatory and into heaven.

The children even sang a soul cake song along the lines of the modern “Trick-or-treat, trick-or-treat, give me something good to eat.” One version of the song went:

“A soul cake! A soul cake! Have mercy on all Christian souls, for A soul cake!”

There is also some evidence of trick-or-treat type activities in the original Celtic tradition. Historians say the Celts would dress up in ghoulish outfits and parade out of town to lead the wandering spirits away. Additionally, Celtic children would walk door to door to collect firewood for a giant communal bonfire. Once the bonfire was burning, the revelers would extinguish all the other fires in the village. They would then relight every fire with a flame taken from the Samhain bonfire, as a symbol of the people’s connection to one another.

A lot of the Samhain celebration had to do with honoring Celtic gods, and there’s evidence that the Celts would dress as these deities as part of the festival. They may have actually gone door to door to collect food to offer to the gods. It is fairly clear that Samhain involved an offering of food to spirits. There may have been animal sacrifices, and some historians say the Celts even sacrificed people, but the evidence is not conclusive.

The Celts believed in fairies and other mischievous creatures, and the notion of Halloween trickery may have come from their reported activities on Samhain. There’s also good reason to suppose that the Celtic New Year’s Eve was something like our own New Year’s Eve — a time when people let go of their inhibitions, drank heavily and got into trouble. The trickery tradition may simply come from this spirit of revelry

As part of the Samhain celebration, Celts would bring home an ember from the communal bonfire at the end of the night. They carried these embers in hollowed-out turnips, creating a lantern resembling the modern day jack-o’-lantern.

But the direct predecessor of jack-o’-lanterns dates from 18th-century Ireland, where ancient Celtic traditions remained a significant part of the national culture. A very popular character in Irish folk tales was Stingy Jack, a disreputable miser who, on several occasions, avoided damnation by tricking the devil (often on All Hallows’ Eve). In one story, he convinced Satan to climb up a tree for some apples and then cut crosses all around the trunk so the devil couldn’t climb down. The devil promised to leave Jack alone forever, if he would only let him out of the tree.

When Jack eventually died, he was turned away from Heaven, due to his life of sin. But, in keeping with their agreement, the Devil wouldn’t take Jack either. He was cursed to travel forever as a spirit in limbo. As Jack left the gates of Hell, the Devil threw him a hot ember to light the way in the dark. Jack placed the ember in a hollowed-out turnip and wandered off into the world. According to the Irish legend, you might see Jack’s spirit on All Hallows’ Eve, still carrying his turnip lantern through the darkness.

Sunday Links for All Saints, Nov. 6, 2022

The River in the fall

Nov. 6, 11:00am – Holy Eucharist, All Saints

  • Holy Eucharist, Sun. Nov. 6 YouTube link Nov. 6
  • Lectionary for Nov. 6, 2022, All Saints
  • Bulletin for Nov. 6, 2022, Bulletin
  • Sermon for Oct. 30, 2022, Sermon
  • Coffee hour, Nov. 6, 2022, 12pm,
  • Morning Meditation , Mon, Nov. 7, 6:30am Zoom link Meeting ID: 879 8071 6417 Passcode: 790929
  • Ecumenical Bible Study, Wed., Nov. 9, 10am-12pm. Reading lectionary of Nov. 13
  • November, 2022 Newsletter
  • All articles for Nov. 6, 2022

  • All Saints Sunday – A Time of Baptism

    • McKenna Long – Jan. 2, 2011
    • Alexander Long VI – Nov. 4, 2012
    • Owen Long – Aug. 4, 2013

    Baptism of Scarlett Joy Long is on Nov. 1, 2015.  Congratulations! Baptism is one of the sacraments of the Episcopal Church and is one of the times of the year appointed for baptism.

    Here are the 3 Whys of Baptism

    All Saints Day

    All Saints Sunday

     

    In our Baptismal Covenant we, along with traditional Christians around the globe, profess in the ancient Baptismal Creed the words: “I believe in… the communion of saints, … the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.” (Book of Common Prayer, page 304)

    From its very beginning, the Church understood the Body of Christ to encompass all baptized persons, both the living and the dead. Christ’s kingdom transcends time and space; and not even death can sever the relationship that the faithful have in Christ.

    All are united in a mystical communion with Christ by virtue of baptism (1 Corinthians 6:11). The term saint was used by Paul to designate all baptized Christians (Romans 1:7; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1), even the unruly ones (1 Corinthians 1:2)!

    In the New Testament, all those who believe and were baptized were referred to as saints. The word saint originally meant "holy".

    On All Saints Day, we make celebrate this idea in the here and now by recognizing and celebrating our relationship, not only with those around us today, but also with all those who have gone before us in all times and place. They are connected in one communion. 

    All Saints is also a time for welcoming new members. Traditionally baptisms are held in the Episcopal Church at the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord,  Easter, Pentecost,  and All Saints. 

    It wasn’t until round about the third century that the church began using the word saint to refer to those who had been martyred for the faith

    The early Church especially honored martyrs, those who had died for their faith. Praying for the dead is actually borrowed from Judaism, as recorded in 2 Maccabees 12:41-45 of the Apocrypha.

    Local churches kept a record of their own martyrs and each year celebrated their “birthdays,” the dates of death when they were “born” into eternal life.

    By the fourth century many parts of the Church had set a day of observance for their martyrs, their confessors (those who had been punished for their faith but did not die), and their virgins, all of those known by name and unknown.

    The celebration of All Saints’ Day on November 1 began as a feast day commemorating all martyrs, confessors and virgin, including those whose names were not known. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV officially established All Saints’ Day in order to honor all the saints at one time.

    It was originally celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost, and the Eastern Church still observes this date. In the eighth century, Pope Gregory III moved it to November 1.

    The confusing aspect of saints is that we have many saints that we honor on specific days. However, there are many unknown or unsung Saints, who may have been forgotten. On All Saints’ Day, we celebrate these Holy Ones of the Lord, and ask for their prayers for us.

    Since they are endowed with holiness, saints are close to God, and may perform miracles on earth. Roman Catholics, and some other Christians, honor saints and ask them for guidance in daily life.

    Not only is All Saints an occasion on which we might celebrate this communion of saints with prayer, it is also a reminder of God’s desire to sanctify the lives of all God’s people. Too often Christians have used the term saint to describe only those of extraordinary sanctity who have been officially recognized (canonized) by the Church.

    But the life of each Christian is to radiate the love of God given to us in Christ so that all the world might know that this love transforms lives.