|Liturgy by TLW|
Worship Ideas for All Saints
by The Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
For a different kind of fun occasion, see Saints Alive!
A day for the commemoration of the faithful departed is one of the oldest feast days in our Church Year. And it is one that can be quite important to the life of a particular parish as people remember those who have died in the past year.
As All Saints approaches, it is good to make an announcement in the newsletter and bulletin that names are being collected of those to be remembered on that occasion. These can be parish members only or a more expanded list of anyone who has died who was significant to a member of the parish. Parish records will provide the information if you only remember members of the parish.
The newsletter and bulletin announcement also serves to alert family members of those who have died that their loved one will be remembered at services on All Saints. If your parish is small, perhaps you might want to send a letter to that effect to family members.
On All Saints Sunday, I usually include a bulletin insert with a short note about the significance of the day, along with the list of names being remembered:
All Saints' Day is a universal festival of the Church. This festival day directs our attention to the richness of Christian history and the varied experiences of the grace of God by lifting up the lives of the saints.
The custom of commemorating all the martyrs of the Church on a single day goes back at least to the third century. All Saints' Day (Nov. 1) celebrates not only the martyrs and saints, but all the people of God, living and dead, who together form the mystical body of Christ.
Below are the names of the members (and friends) of __________ Lutheran Church who have died since All Saints' Day last year. We remember them in our prayers today, and we give thanks for their lives. We remember and find strength in their faith and the faith of all the saints both known to us and known only to God.
For the liturgy of the day, consider the following:
Entrance Hymn "For All the Saints"
Dialog for All Saints: (replaces Kyrie)
A. Praise the Lord, all you saints!
C. Praise him all you heavenly hosts!
A. Let us praise the name of the Lord:
C. For his name only is exalted!
A. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob:
C. Isaiah, Jeremiah and all you Patriarchs and Prophets!
A. Miriam, Ruth and Naomi:
C. Elizabeth, Mary and all you Holy Women!
A. Matthew, Mark and Luke:
C.James and John and all you Evangelists and Apostles!
A. Stephen, Thomas, Peter and Paul:
C. Philip, Bartholomew and all you Holy Martyrs!
A. Praise the Lord!
C. O praise the name of the Lord!
A. These are the saints whose robes are washed white in the blood of the Lamb.
C. Praise the Lord!
A. We are the saints who are the living body of Christ, the Church.
C. Praise the Lord! O praise the name of the Lord!
Hymn of Praise "Praise the Lord! O Heavens"
Salutation and Prayer of the Day (chanted)
Hymn "In Heaven Above, In Heaven Above"
Hymn of the Day "Who Is This Host"
Prayer of the Church:
A venerable old tradition for the Prayer of the Church on All Saints is to use the prayers from the Funeral Rite, making adjustments as necessary for this feast day use. These are prayers that speak fully of the communion of saints and faith in the resurrection, all themes of the day.
Begin the Prayer of the Church with following:
A. On the day of All Saints', we remember with thanksgiving the member(s)
of our church who has/have died during this past year since last All
Saints: Name(s). In our prayers, we ask that God would
grant them eternal rest and that we would be kept in communion with all the
saints until we are reunited with them around the heavenly throne of God
and the Lamb.
Let us pray. (Continue with the prayers from the service for the Burial of the Dead, LBW rubric 14. Omit the petition that begins "Grant us grace to entrust ________".)
For the final prayer of the Presiding Minister, use the following:
P. O God, the generations rise and pass away before you. You are the strength of those who labor; you are the rest of the blessed dead. We rejoice in the company of your saints. We remember all who have lived in faith, all who have peacefully died, and especially those most dear to us who rest in you, whose names we remember before you now. (People may offer names of friends or relatives who have died.) Give us in time our portion with those who have trusted in you and have striven to do your holy will. To your name, with the Church on earth and the Church in heaven, we ascribe all honor and glory, now and forever. C. Amen (LBW 285)
Preface for All Saints
Eucharistic Prayer of the Saints
P. Holy are you, O Lord, and great is your majesty. All the saints in heaven and on earth sing their praise of your eternal glory.
For in the beginning, you prepared the worlds by your holy Word, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible. You laid out your holy plan of creation and redemption, that all who might know you would have faith, not in things seen, but in things not seen.
By faith, Noah and his family built the ark and were saved from the flood to bring forth a new generation. By faith, Enoch of old was taken straight into heaven.
By faith, Abraham and Sarah obeyed your calling and went forth from their home to a place promised but not seen, to a family promised, but only later fulfilled. By faith, Moses brought forth your chosen people, the Israelites, from slavery into freedom and led them to your holy mountain to worship and to receive your law.
By faith, the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah held fast to your promise of a Messiah who would come to save your people from their sin. By faith, Mary and Joseph awaited the day of your promise, until you brought forth that savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, your only-begotten Son.
In him is the fulfillment of the faith and hope of all the saints. In him is our salvation won and your love revealed.
In the night in which he was betrayed, our Lord Jesus took bread, and gave thanks; broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying: Take and eat; this is my body, given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me.
Again, after supper, he took the cup, gave thanks, and gave it for all to drink, saying: This cup is the new covenant in my blood, shed for you and for all people for the forgiveness of sin. Do this for the remembrance of me.
In heaven and on earth, O God, the saints and angels unite around your holy altar to proclaim the mystery of faith:
C. Christ has died! Christ is risen! Christ will come again!
P. We remember and hold fast to Christ's examples of faith and life as the saints before us have done. We remember his living among outcasts and sinners, his concern for the poor, his life of prayer and worship, and his teachings about your love.
But chiefly we remember his life-giving passion and death, his glorious resurrection and ascension, and his promise to come again to raise us and all the faithful departed to live together eternally in fellowship with him in his heavenly kingdom.
Send now your Holy Spirit upon these gifts of bread and wine, that they may be the body and blood of him who is the hope and salvation of the living and the dead. Send your Holy Spirit upon us also that we might know his presence in these gifts, and through them, be united in prayer and praise with all those who have gone before us.
With this feast, join us in one holy communion of saints, one great cloud of witnesses, with St. Peter and St. Paul, with St. John and St. Mary Magdalene, and with all the blessed dead whose lives of faith in unseen things continue to inspire us, as together we lift our voices to you, O God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in eternal glory, now and forever.
Post Communion Prayer
Benediction and Dismissal:
P. The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and to the fellowship of the citizens above, may the + King of angels bring us all.