Sunday, November 05, 2006

All Souls

At today's service we were blessed with the opportunity to read names of some of our beloved dead. During the sermon Charlie said that no one had ever complained about the length of the list. I regard that as a direct challenge. Don't get me wrong, the reading is an important part of our community, but it was too long. I remember as a child feeling guilty when I restricted my prayers for those killed in Vietnam. Shouldn't I be remembering all who have died? Should I pray for those who died today? Or maybe yesterday, or just in the past year? Of the billions of souls who precede me in death, should any be singled out for special attention? I have never contributed a name to the list read in Church although I continue to pray aloud with the rest of you and silently for those whom I have known personally. I may be the only one who feels this way, and I respect the 99.9% of parishioners who desire a communal prayer for their blessed departed. When I die, don't put me on the list to be read aloud. Consider it my parting gift: a shorter list.


  1. Agreed. The church which I attended this morning had a list that exceeded 200 names. While I'm certain that each name was important to those who knew that person, the vast majority were unknown to most. A simple reference to "those on the parish list" or to "those for whom prayers have been requested" should suffice. At some point, we face the law of diminishing returns, where the reading of a long list becomes mere rote recitation and not a prayerful remembrance of loved ones. At some point, we go beyond "enough is enough" to "enough is too much."

  2. Well said. I hope TravellingMercies and you are sharing some common ground here, but unfortunately her comments were lost in e-space.