All Saints, All Souls, Year B

Musical Reflection
When the Saints Go Marchin’ In by Louis Armstrong

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Invocation

Lord of heaven’s reach,
of earth reborn;
you call us from starless graves
to sing under infinite skies:
we praise your name
for those who have walked this way
unheralded and unnumbered
but known to you,
their beginning, their end,
their joy in life;
give us the same grace
to be unbound
and take the step of faith;
through Jesus Christ, the alpha and omega.
Amen.
First Reading
When the saints went

by Samiya Bashir

what remained: barren stalks bowing heads
by the field-full. rusty air conditioners dripping
from warped windowsills. rock formations retaining roots.
hollowed out caves and dog stumps forced ragged, toothy grins.
all ablaze. a laser show shot hot through the tinny night. every husk
wore a well lit protrusion. every breath an asthmatic thrush more material
than the silence that surrounds each carcass now: voided prayer: cold
arthritic grating: remembering notions of breath. saints: offer a hand to a
wheezing shadow: wish for someone to hold before the sure, sudden twilight.
Second Reading
All Souls
by Michael Collier
A few of us—Hillary Clinton, Vlad Dracula,
Oprah Winfrey, and Trotsky—peer through
the kitchen window at a raccoon perched
outside on a picnic table where it picks
over chips, veggies, olives, and a chunk of pâte.
Behind us others crowd the hallway, many more
dance in the living room. Trotsky fusses with the bloody
screwdriver puttied to her forehead.
Hillary Clinton, whose voice is the rumble
of a bowling ball, whose hands are hairy
to the third knuckle, lifts his rubber chin to announce,
“What a perfect mask it has!” While the Count
whistling through his plastic fangs says, “Oh,
and a nose like a chef.” Then one by one
the other masks join in: “Tail of a gambler,”
“a swashbuckler’s hips,” “feet of a cat burglar.”
Trotsky scratches herself beneath her skirt
and Hillary, whose lederhosen are so tight they form a codpiece,
wraps his legs around Trotsky’s leg and humps like a dog.
Dracula and Oprah, the married hosts, hold hands
and then let go. Meanwhile the raccoon squats on
the gherkins, extracts pimentos from olives, and sniffs
abandoned cups of beer. A ghoul in the living room
turns the music up and the house becomes a drum.
The windows buzz. “Who do you love? Who do you love?”
the singer sings. Our feathered arms, our stockinged legs.
The intricate paws, the filleting tongue.
We love what we are; we love what we’ve become.
PabloPicasso-Weeping-Woman-with-Handkerchief-1937
  

Gospel Reading 1
John 11:32-44

When Mary arrived where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”

When Jesus saw her crying and the Jewish people who had come with her crying also, he was deeply disturbed and troubled. He asked, “Where have you laid him?”

They replied, “Lord, come and see.”

Jesus began to cry. The Jewish people said, “See how much he loved him!” But some of them said, “He healed the eyes of the man born blind. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?”

Jesus was deeply disturbed again when he came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone covered the entrance. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.”

Martha, the sister of the dead man, said, “Lord, the smell will be awful! He’s been dead four days.”

Jesus replied, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believe, you will see God’s glory?” So they removed the stone. Jesus looked up and said, “Abba God, thank you for hearing me. I know you always hear me. I say this for the benefit of the crowd standing here so that they will believe that you sent me.” Having said this, Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his feet bound and his hands tied, and his face covered with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Untie him and let him go.”


Gospel Reading 2
Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kindom of heaven.

‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kindom of heaven.

‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Gospel Reading 3
John 6:37-40

“Everyone whom God gives to me will come to me, and I won’t send away anyone who comes to me. I have come down from heaven not to do my will, but the will of the One who sent me. This is the will of the One who sent me, that I won’t lose anything that has been given me, but I will raise it up at the last day. This is God’s will: that all who see the Holy Child and believe in him will have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”


Gospel Reading 4
John 5:24-27

“I assure you that whoever hears my word and believes in the One who sent me has eternal life and won’t come under judgment but has passed from death into life.”

“I assure you that the time is coming—and is here!—when the dead will hear the voice of God’s Child, and those who hear it will live. Just as Abba God has life, so the Holy Child has been granted to have life in himself. God gives the Holy Child authority to judge, because he is the Human One.”


Musical Reflection
Living Dead by Marina and the Diamonds

woman-with-flower-1932
Prayer
 by St Basil the Great, adapted

O God, enlarge within us the sense of
fellowship with all living things, our
siblings, the animals, to whom thou gave the
earth as their home in common with us.  We
remember with shame that we
have exercised the high dominion of humanity with
ruthless cruelty, so that the voice of the ear
which should have gone up to thee in song,
has been a groan of travail.
May we realize that they live not for us alone but for
themselves and for thee and that
they love the sweetness of life.
Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

O Great Spirit,
You are our Shepherd Chief in the most high place.
Whose home is everywhere, even beyond the stars and moon.
Whatever You want done, let it also be done everywhere.
Give us Your gift of bread day by day.
Forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who wrong us.
Take us away from wrong doings.
Free us from all evil.
For everything belongs to You.
Let your power and glory shine forever. Amen.

Musical Reflection
You Have Redeemed My Soul by Waterdeep


Blessing

May the outrageous welcome of Abba God
accept us for who we are;
may the incarnation of the Word
touch and hold us close;
may the wanderings of the Spirit
help us risk ourselves for love;

and the blessing of God, the Sun, the Light and the Burning Ray, 
be with us and remain with us always. Amen.

crucifixion-1930

Sources:

Artwork by Pablo Picasso

Invocation and Blessing from Prayers for an Inclusive Church by Steven Shakespeare

Musical Reflection When the Saints Go Marchin’ In by Louis Armstrong

Poem When the saints went by Samiya Bashir

Poem All Souls by Michael Collier

Musical Reflection Living Dead by Marina and the Diamonds

Prayer by St Basil the Great

Lord’s Prayer by Hattie C Enos

Musical Reflection You Have Redeemed my Soul by Waterdeep

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