Saturday, November 02, 2013
All Souls Day at Westminster Abbey
Several years ago while in college, I was studying in Europe and made a trip up to England to visit a friend and to see some of the sights there. I was excited that my friend was staying in Kent, and I would be able to go to Canterbury Cathedral to attend church and poke around in the town. But, before going to Kent, I was in London in early November, visiting museums and churches, and doing the tourist thing. On November 2nd, I made my way over to Westminster Abbey, where I was to meet up with one of the canons of the Abbey. A mutual friend made the connection for me, and I was poking around the Abbey on a terribly rainy and cold day. Not being totally keyed into the liturgical calendar, I was able to learn a bit about All Souls Day while in Westminster Abbey. Since it was such a cold and rainy day, and since there are endless things to see and to visit, I stayed there much of the day. Since All Souls Day is also known as the Feast of the Faithful Departed when many Christians remember all those who have died in the last year, it became a rich and deep place to observe the holiday. In addition, just the day before, one of the elderly canons (priests in a leadership role) at the Abbey had died. So, along with the rainy day, the soulful Abbey (full of tombs!), and the occasion of the death of the canon it really was a wonderful place to learn about All Souls Day, and about the depth of our Anglican Tradition - not merely by reading about it or talking about it, but by doing it. I entered Westminster Abbey a tourist, and left a pilgrim.
I pray that we all take time today to reflect upon All Souls Day and pray for all those who have died, and pray for us, that we might live in a way that is full, abundant, and holy.
Blessings on All Souls Day,
~The Rev. Peter M.Carey