All Souls, 2nd November 2021
We said yesterday that other people become part of us – and we a part of them. This is true for us whether dead or alive. And it’s not just a question of memory or DNA but of a living tradition which transcends death: a body of people now constituted by Christ – and Christ, not only as Saviour of some, but of all. Whether we accept this salvation or not, by word or deed, is another matter. So what we’re celebrating today is our invitation to belong, or rather to recognise our belonging to a much greater reality than our own individual selves. We’re all in this together in a way that most of us cannot even begin to imagine; or rather we do in the imagery of yesterday with a throne and a lamb and many thousands of people dressed in white robes and holding palms in their hands; the ones still somewhat at a distance from us because they have lived upright and noble lives and are now clearly victorious. Today, we take a step back from that scene and remember all those souls whose fate seems less certain; those more like us, still on the way, perhaps, and like us, still in need of purification. But it’s this solidarity with the dead which will win salvation, both for them and for us, for it’s essentially a recognition that we’re all in this together: one body, one love.