November 1 is called All Saints’ Day, a celebration day to honor the souls of all saints. It commemorates the souls of all deceased Christians, and it is a day to pray to God. The following day, November 2, is All Souls’ Day, and in commemoration of all the faithful departed, we pray to God. November is also said to be All Saints’ Month.
At church during Sunday services, we always pray to God for all departed souls, but we remember especially in November of those lost ones to have them rest in peace. It is similar to “obon” in Japan, a Festival of the Dead.
Nobody knows, for certain, about the life after death. While some people believe that everything will be lost, others believe that the body will be lost but the soul remains. There’s no evidence in any of these, but since ages ago, it has been believed that the soul lives on after death as many people wish, expect, and hope.
If there is nothing afterlife or if it is a nihilistic world, we are now desperately living heading towards a nihilistic world without any kind of hope. Life would be a very empty one. Furthermore, funerals, grave visits, memorial services, and Christian memorial worships will have no meaning.
The Bible tells us that the soul of the deceased rests in peace, and before long at the last moment, gives its testimony to God, the creation of life.
Therefore, we, who are currently alive, pray for the deceased and to God to welcome the soul of the deceased. At the same time, while we are still alive, we live with hope, praying for guidance and protection, to be able to live a fulfilling life so that God would be happy. Let us pray for the many souls of the deceased.
Revd Timothy Kimihiro Shimada
Nagano Holy Savior’s Church, New Life Chapel, Inariyama All Saint’s Church