This is has been an interesting autumn season. Every year, as the leaves begin to change color and fall, the nation anticipates the election season along with the end of the baseball season. This year has been more interesting than others, as it has been decades since both teams in the World Series have won the championship, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians.
To make the season even more interesting, the series went to a full 7 games. Even that 7th game was exciting, interesting and memorable. I have never seen so many comments, social media posts and conversations of remembering loved ones who have passed away. Many of those comments begin like this, “I wish dad and grandpa were here to see this.”
I heard a story of a man who drove from the Midwest to North Carolina to listen to the game near his father’s grave site. He promised that he would listen to the game with his dad if the Cubbies ever made it to the World Series, so Game 7 brought them together again. I even read a story on NPR that was titled “Cubs Fans Decorate Gravesites of Loved Ones Across Chicago Area.” This has become a season to remember loved ones who didn’t make it to see the day the Cubs win the World Series, so a whole generation of people are remembering.
While not a big baseball follower or Cubs fan, I have been to Wrigley a few times, I couldn’t help but think about the people that I visited in the past from the church I served in northwest Indiana. I can remember walking into the homes of older members, many of whom grew in the Chicago land region and were huge Cubs fans, and having them share memories of trips to Wrigley and listening to games on the radio, which some of them still did when the game wasn’t televised. Some of them have passed away, but remembering them last night was a great joy.
Maybe it’s not that odd that the Cubs won the World Series the week the church celebrates All Saints Day officially on November 1st and All Saints Sunday coming up on November 6th. I think there’s a real connection between the two. Both events have called us to remember. We remember the faithful departed, those who lived their faith until the end. We remember and give thanks. We light candles and ring bells to make the remembrance. We celebrate.
I think it’s something that Latin American nations do much better than we do in the United States, as they know how to celebrate. They decorate gravesides, they light candles, some fly kites, all to celebrate and remember those who have gone before them. Perhaps the Cubs and the City of Chicago will help the church remember how to celebrate All Saints Sunday this year. The remembering may bring sadness and fresh grief, but I pray that it will also bring sweetness and joy in this season.
“For all the saints, who from their labors rest, who thee by faith before the world confessed, thy name, O Jesus, be forever blest — Alleluia, Alleluia!”