Preparing for Worship – Jacob Leal, intern
This past Monday was the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos or “Day of the Dead.” This celebration, which resulted from Spaniard colonization, is a mix between Catholicism and indigenous spirituality. Families set up ofrendas, colorful altars containing objects which remind them of their dead ancestors, including pictures, favorite foods and drinks and many different colors. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this holiday is its celebratory nature as opposed to one of mourning. Dia de Muertos is a colorful holiday of dancing, eating good food, telling the stories of deceased loved ones and spending time with family.
This week I was able to reflect a lot on this celebration as I remembered and joyfully celebrated the legacy of my family members who have passed. As Christians, we hold on to the promise and hope that death is not final. In other words, death does not mean we cease to exist, but that we move on to another reality.
On Sundays we get to tell the stories of our ancestors. A beautiful aspect of Christianity is that it is multicultural and multigenerational. “The people of God” is a family which extends across space and time. When we worship, we do so amongst those who have been before us, those who will be after us, and those across the globe — the communion of the saints. Therefore, when we listen to the words and stories in the Bible, we are hearing the words of our ancestors and the stories of our family.
Our biblical texts, written by our ancestors, clearly show that we are to remember those who have been before us and worship alongside them. It is their legacy which shapes our story. The Jews were often reminded of their ancestor Moses and those who were led out of Egypt by God’s guidance. Through this ancestral story we are reminded that the God who demands justice is among us, just as the God of justice was with the Israeli slaves.
This Sunday morning, I invite you to worship our first ancestor, Jesus. Paul tells us in Colossians 1:15 that Jesus is our ancestral brother, who is the firstborn among all creation. In other words, we are connected as a family through Christ, who holds the church together. This morning, let us be thankful for our spatiotemporal transcending unity with God’s people, and worship our Lord alongside our ancestors.