For All the Saints

An All Saints Day Altar
This morning was our All Saints Day worship service, and we remembered those who have died, going before us, specifically those who have died in the last year. I am a teary-eyed person anyway, and I weep easily during worship even on "regular" Sundays. No one who is close to me in real ways died in the last year, but I still cried.

There is Rachel Held Evans, my favorite Christian author, a contemporary, and prolific writer and theologian who died in May. I had been praying fervently for her recovery after learning of her unexpected and terrifying illness that left her in a medically induced coma. I learned that she died the morning of Jane's first piano recital. We were in an Episcopal church and I was helping my three-year-old potty before we left. Rachel had left her evangelical church tradition for the Episcopal church, and she was a mother who left behind two small children and a beloved husband. And she left a hole in my life, even though we were strangers. (We were mutual Twitter followers, and I was on the team to read and promote her last book, Inspired.) I am a fan and a member of her online church, ministered to through social media and her blog.

I grieve for the books I'll never read and the complex thoughts she would have wrestled with and come away with clarity for herself and others. But mostly I grieve for her family, and feel that pin-prick of fear for my own. My own mortality is something I don't consider often, but it's a certainty even without knowing death's timing.

I remember you, Rachel Held Evans. And I expect that I will every year as candles are lit and bells are rung. Just as I remember my grandparents, great aunt, baby cousin and others.

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