Dear People of St. Catherine’s,
The ancient Druids considered November a sacred time. The first days of November were a liminal time, one of the “thin” times of the year, when they could reach across the divide between here and there and touch the deepest mysteries of life. For them, November 1 began the new year.
For us, November 1 is the Feast of All Saints, still a liminal time, when we reach back in time – and space – to remember the great cloud of witnesses that stand behind us. This is the feast of “our people” as they would say in the South. All those whose journey led to our journey and whose hopes are manifest in our lives. The letter to the Hebrews reminds us that “our people” need us, as we need them, for “God provided something better so that they would not, apart from us be made perfect”.
In our linear, digital age, we may forget the mystery of such liminal moments. In the great film Amistad, the true story of African men and women illegally caught and sold into slavery, who mutiny and capture the ship taking them, ending up in Connecticut. They become a celebrated legal case, which ends in the United States Supreme Court. The issue is whether they are property or free human beings. John Quincy Adams has been hired to argue their case. Just before going into the court, he tells Cinque, the leader of the Africans, not to worry, because they will not be going into the court alone. They have “right” and “righteousness” on their side. Cinque responds:
We won’t be going in there alone….I meant my ancestors. I will call into the past, far back to the beginning of time, and beg them to come and help me at the judgment. I will reach back and draw them into me. And they must come, for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all.
On November 3rd, we will celebrate the great festival of “our people” by baptizing Renaldo and Kadren Hoyt, two twin boys. If their entrance into this world was a little bumpy, their passage through the water of salvation and grace will be joyful. We will call back to the beginning of time, when the heavens and the earth were formed, back to the desperate flight through the water to freedom, back to the generations of saints who lived and died so that these two precious boys could be brought to their bath. They will become two of our people and we will become their people. And they will never be alone.
So we begin November, the great liminal time, when the boundaries are transgressed and grace flows across. A week later, on November 10th we bring our pledges of support for St. Catherine’s. It’s what “our people” have always done and now it is our turn.
Finally, we end this liminal month with the national festival of Thanksgiving. It also is a liminal day, when we remember the best things God has done and give thanks, the foundational impulse of all generations.
In this month the days grow shorter, the light less commanding, and the shadows lengthen. But the Druids had it right. Watch carefully, listen attentively, and stretch out the hands of your hearts and realize that God is with us and “our people” are not far away.
With thanksgiving and joy,
Allen W. Farabee,
Sunday 8:00 AM
Sunday 9:00 AM
HOLY EUCHARIST WITH MUSIC
Sunday 10:00 AM
Sunday 10:00 AM
CONTEMPLATIVE EVENING PRAYER
Second Thursday of the month at 7:00 PM