For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Oh blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
(Evangelical Lutheran Worship #422)
This past Sunday was All Saints Sunday, a day in the church year in which we remember and celebrate all saints–Christians who have come before us, and those who live among us. In our church, we have some special traditions around All Saints Day that include lighting candles and reading the names of those from our congregation who have passed away in the past year. During the service, there are candles lit on the altar for each person from our congregation who has died in the last year.
This year, those candles and that list of names read aloud during the prayers of the church included our son: Alexander Scott Haligowski.
So, as I said yesterday, the decision to leave a family wedding a little early to come home and be present for All Saints Sunday was a complex one. But at the end of an insanely difficult week, being home and with our church family on this important Sunday was exactly where we needed to be.
We sat in church Sunday morning with some dear
friends chosen family who have walked and continue to walk so closely with us through this season of grief. We held hands as names were read during the prayers of the church. We shared tears during the lighting of the candles after communion. Our pastor preached his sermon while sporting an Alexander wristband. We sat in stillness at the end of the service while people moved all around us, just watching the flickering of the candles lit for all the saints.
Throughout the day, we received messages and photos from friends who were honoring and remembering Alexander for All Saints Day. I cannot even begin to say how much it meant to me to know that Alexander’s name was read, his picture shared, and candles lit in his honor not just in our little corner of the world, but in homes and in churches across the country.
Despite the difficulty of getting there after a long and difficult week, we found ourselves exactly where we needed to be this Sunday. Exactly. Where. We. Needed. To. Be.
In addition to these photos, I received countless messages from friends near and far sharing their love, thoughts, and prayers with us. It was a heavy but beautiful end to a very difficult week.