For all the saints who from their labors rest,
Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest,
Alleluia! Alleluia!

Oh blest communion, fellowship divine,
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Alleluia! Alleluia!

(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.

allsaintsfhsanctuary
A photo shared by our pastor on my facebook wall from the Saturday evening worship service at our church.

 

allsaints
A candle lit for our Alexander among the many other saints from Epiphany Lutheran Church who have gone to be with Jesus in the past year.

 

allsaintsfhcc
This is the box from Sunday morning in which Scott and I lit our candles for Alexander, Scott’s Uncle JZ, our friends’ daughter Kaia Gene, and all the saints who have gone before us.

 

allsaintserinallen
A photo received from my friend EA along with the message: “I lit a candle in honor of Alexander for All Saints Day. Just wanted you to know I am thinking of you.”

 

allsaintsashleyboersma
A photo shared on Instagram by my friend AB with the caption: “This morning, on All Saints Sunday, we lit a candle in memory of #AlexanderScot sending you lots of love.”

 

allsaintsaustin
Candles lit at our church’s Austin Campus during Sunday morning worship.

 

15016202_1104747419641537_666304496443334297_o
From my friend and colleague MEH: “Alexander was one of our saints remembered this weekend in worship at Prince of Peace. At the bottom of our tree of life is a picture of Alexander. You and Scott in my prayers today. “

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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s