Last Sunday we attended the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning. Attended again this week. Both times, at the end of Liturgy, they said a prayer for the dead.
In the first service, it had been 11 years since the passing (or as they like to say, the falling asleep) of one of their church members. They called her by name and the entire congregation sang and prayed for her salvation and peace in the Lord. How AWESOME is it to know that you are remembered and prayed for after you’re gone – even years after you’re gone??
In the second, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11. Thousands of people from all walks of life murdered in a senseless tragedy, and the Church remembered them and prayed for them. This time, we got down on our knees. All of us.
In a world where “Oh well, life goes on” seems to be the constant attitude, I find it quite refreshing and humbling to know the dead are never forgotten in the Orthodox Church. Many are even held in reverance, as evidenced by the hundreds of recognized saints and martyrs, said to be our guides and models as true servants of Christ.
We are all a part of the Body of Christ, even those that have gone before us. We are all in need of His mercy and grace, even those we can no longer see. I love that the Orthodox Church acknowledges that. It’s as if… they do not allow death to have the final say. Still sad, yes, but never absolute. Christ conquered death, and at the last, so shall we.