Ritual for The Day of the Dead/All Souls

Lit candles held in a row of cupped hands

(Tea lights are set up in groups of 50 on either side of the chancel in this ritual borrowed from Soulful Sundown.)

The long Summer has faded, now, and these first days of November mark the beginning of the coming of Winter. The frost has taken our tender plants, leaves have begun to fall from the trees, geese begin to arrive from the north. The days are cooler, the weather unsettled, and the evenings are suddenly dark. Our children have played with death and fear, Christians have marked All Saints and All Souls days, both holidays commemorating the dead, and our Hispanic neighbors have celebrated the Day of the Dead. If we were members of traditional Mexican families, we would go this evening to have a picnic on the graves of our family members, celebrating, remembering, and honoring. Most of us are far from the grave sites of our ancestors, but we can also honor those who have gone before us, and we will do that after the interlude by inviting any who wish to come forward and silently light a candle for their own beloved dead. There are candle stands at each end of the platform; please line up in the side aisles and return to your seat via the center aisle. I invite you to use the interlude as a time of centering and preparation for this ceremony.

Musical Interlude

Meditation and Honoring of our Beloved Deceased

At this darkening time of the year, our thoughts turn to things past, to life retreating, to those who are no longer with us. Images come to our minds; of dear companions, who once graced our lives, loved ones whom we miss, persons whose lives made an impact on our lives; of all those who were here, contributing, caring, and are now gone.

Our memories bring both joy and sadness; let us not push these feelings away. For our recollections attest to the enduring importance of these friends, this love, our memories.

May these brave and lovely spirits live again in our tender thoughts, and prove that death and distance are powerless to sever the bonds that connect truly loving hearts.

And now, I would have us recall to mind those members of this community who have died within the year, and after I call their names, I invite you to come forward and light your own candle for those who you would honor and remember. Church members who died during the last year are: (list while second worship leader lights a candle for each. Then minister and worship leader each take a taper and assist persons lighting candles on each side of the chancel.)

Time of Silence and Candle Lighting

Minister's Prayer

Peace be with you

Response: And also with you

Spirit of Life, whom we know best in our own loving and being loved, hold us as we remember those we have loved, and those who have loved us. May our gratitude sparkle in our lives, may our tears lubricate our souls. Help us to know that we are not alone in our grieving, and help us also to come to that peaceful place in which we can take what we learned from those who have gone before us into our own lives. Remind us that we, too, are mortal; and that the only enduring legacy we leave is the love that shines through our lives.