The Great Cloud of Witnesses

Kindred in Christ,

I have long loved the trinity of observances that just passed, Halloween (Oct 31), All Saints Day (Nov 1), and Día de los Muertos (Nov 1 & 2). For me, and for many around the world, these days are a threshold season—what some refer to as a thin space, where the veil between the living and the dead becomes thinner. I have increasingly found that this is a time of paying attention, for listening at the threshold, and for being empowered by our loved ones who have gone before us yet are with us in God’s eternal embrace.

This Sunday we will spend some time at the threshold as we reflect on our connection to the great “cloud of witnesses” (Hebrews 12:1). We will explore how remembering their stories and relying on their continued presence compels us forward—like the divine cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness.

You are invited to bring pictures of loved ones or objects that remind you of them to add to our altar this Sunday (see below for more details). We will also continue in our series, Building to the Future, as we consider the importance of or ancestors and saints in moving forward. For, during this time of year, we are invited to remember that the veil thins not only towards the past but also towards the future. As we are asked: How are we moving through this life in a way that will help make possible the paths of those who follow? How will we be remembered in the future as someone’s saint or ancestor?

Alongside you,

Rev. Paul Ortiz