All Souls (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed)

Aside from Easter, which is (or should be) the heart of the liturgical year for all Christians, All Souls Day may be the most Mormon of the traditional Catholic feast days. After all, D&C 138 gives us a vision of the faithful dead joyfully gathered in anticipation of the day when Jesus would arrive in the spirit world announcing their liberation from the bands of death, and we make this belief central to our ongoing vicarious work for the dead in temples around the world. We believe, with the Gospel, that the dead will hear the voice of God—and that we can act as conveyors of that voice to them. Although Mormons do not accept the Wisdom of Solomon as canonical, we, believing that Jesus has called us to assist in the deliverance of the dead, can affirm its declaration that, although to earthly eyes the dead seem lost in punishment, “the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.”

Mormonism also gives us the tradition of the people of Ammon, who were struck to their souls with the knowledge of Jesus’ redemption to the point that they would rather die than return to the sins they had committed, brim with faith that “if our brethren destroy us, behold, we shall go to our God and shall be saved.” For them, the sting of death truly was swallowed up in Jesus, and their faith made them steadfast and immovable. Their martyrs’ voices call out, reminding us to be similarly faithful.

As we who are living continue to wait on the Lord, let us then hear the voices of the faithful dead calling to us from the deep—or, in the Book of Mormon phrase, out of the dust. May we honor their memories as we walk the earth on this All Souls Day.

MLP

MLP

Mormon Lectionary Project

Feast of All Souls (Commemoration of the Faithful Departed)

Wisdom 3:1-9 (NRSV); Psalm 130 (NRSV); John 5:24-27 (NRSV); 1 Cor. 15:50-58 (NRSV); Alma 24:6-16; D&C 138:11-19

The Collect: Most merciful God, who from the beginning made provision to redeem us your children from death, through the death and resurrection of your Son: pour out the Holy Spirit of Redemption upon the faithful saints who have preceded us in death, and make us your instruments in bringing them liberation through the power of Christ, that at the last day all the living and the dead may rise together, one people as you are One God. Amen.

Appropriately for the day, John Rutter included a setting of Psalm 130 in his Requiem:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AP_ZHGJvHbk]

And to touch base with the English folk tradition surrounding Allhallowtide, here are The Watersons singing the Souling Song:

[youtube https://youtu.be/VQ20dtnZG14]

Comments

  1. Simple and perfect. A model Mormon Lectionary Project post, and you’re so correct about how thoroughly Mormon All Souls is.

  2. Thanks, John. I’ve learned a lot from reading the daily lectionary posts that Episcopal Bishop of Utah Scott Hayashi posts on FB. He has a way of being brief, but effective in his miniature homilies.

  3. Yeah, I’ve been following Bishop Hayashi’s posts as well — they’re excellent.

  4. Thanks Jason, I read this once this morning and once again tonight. I loved the idea that you brought up about the people of Ammon and the sting of death. Also, I have a wonderful ward choir director who had us sing the Rutter piece (the two months that I was in choir) and the piece stuck with me. It set a nice tone for the day. thank you!

  5. Mark Ashurst-McGee\ says:

    Nice post – Thank you