A Prayer for All Souls

Dear Souls,

November blessings to each of you!

Tuesday marked All Saints Day, and yesterday, Wednesday, All Souls Day. All Saints and All Souls were traditionally Catholic tradition, but the practice of recognizing their wisdom has expanded out to Protestant churches, UU churches, and beyond. Today I want to offer you an All Souls prayer written by my colleague Rev. Kristin Grassel-Schmidt from our UU congregation in Silver Spring, MD.

In a world of winners and losers,

successes and failures,

right and wrong,

it’s easier to celebrate the saints;

Religion’s moral medalists and heroes.

It’s easier to celebrate the saints,

Those of haloed heads and stories myths,

Those whose true selves few, if any, can recall,

Their humanity obscured by carefully crafted image

Documented miracles shining down

From pedestals built far too high.

It’s easier to celebrate the saints,

And plenty of saints are worth celebrating,

Truly, exemplars extraordinaire.

But today, we celebrate All Souls.

All souls.

All of the souls.

Every single one.

The sweet and the grating,

The loved and the hated,

The cherished and the neglected,

The valued and the exploited,

The exalted and the lowly.

All souls, whether they were saints or not.

All souls, because all life is one,

Spirit of Life and Death and Change and Transformation,

Spirit that is always Becoming,

Mystery beyond all naming,

Yet who is closer than hands and feet,

And who call us each beloved,

We give thanks

That today is set aside for us to remember

Not only our ancestors,

Not only our saints,

Not only our family,

Not only our friends and acquaintances and neighbors;

We give thanks for this one day a year that bids us remember

The entirety of humanity,

The whole history of conscious life

That lived and died and brought us to

this era, this moment, this breath.

We give thanks for a day to be honest

To be real

About the complex feelings that can bubble up when people die

A day to remember that we are bound to all of humanity

All of the souls

Not by blood or rank or status,

Not by political party or religion or place of birth,

But by our common humanity.

All of the souls.

All sacred.

All holy.

All one.

May it be so.

In faith,
Rev. Tara