Near the end of his poem "In Rain," mystic, author, and cultural commentator Wendell Berry talks about how tradition knits us together in ever-expanding community: "Marriages to marriages /are joined, husband and wife /are plighted to all husbands and wives, /any life has all lives /for its delight." The same insight applies to the sacrament of baptism, where new Christians join in fellowship with the faithful of every age: past, present, and yet to come. It is an act that manages to be radically individual and communal in the same moment. Becoming a member of the Church transforms us in our innermost being, but it only makes sense in the context of other members, of the whole Body of Christ. Thus we can talk about death and rising to new life in the same breath, and thus we can celebrate renewal of our common life even as we remember those we mourn. Both of these aspects are reflections of the Divine love that is the origin and core of our community. (It is also why parents and godparents can affirm a child's place in the tradition for them.) Even as we claim our ancient heritage, we recognize that we as the Church are called to be translated into a form yet more glorious. We are nothing without our past. We are nothing without our future. On this Sunday's commemoration of All Saints, I invite each of us and all of us to reach out towards both truths with open arms and open hearts. Amen.
-Joseph Wood