The Communion of Saints

Today I made the rounds and visited our shut-ins at Village Manor, Chapman Valley Manor, and Enterprise Estates. I had just finished sharing communion with someone at Village Manor, and I was looking forward to taking the sacrament to Alice Barclay and joking with her when it suddenly occurred to me that Alice wouldn’t be there. Alice was dead. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, Jenny and I presided at her funeral, I had twice heard her name read two days ago during our observance of All Saints / Memorial Sunday. And yet for a moment, I had forgotten all about her death and was looking forward to seeing her again.

I’ve explained to some of you that I don’t grieve while presiding at funerals. There is simply too much to be done for me to be anything but professional. But I do grieve later. And today I grieved for Alice. I will never again get to share communion with her in this life.

It may have been the fact that we just observed All Saints Day that caused me to take comfort in the communion of saints and remember that Alice and all the others who have died are not really lost to me. Put in the most basic terms, the communion of saints refers to the way that 1. those who have died are still connected to God and 2. we who are alive are connected (by the power of the Holy Spirit) to God and 3. thus being each bound to God we are bound to one another. In the words of the hymn, “We now on earth have union with God the Three in One, and share through faith communion with those whose rest is won.”