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Worship Materials: Remembrance of the Dead

From the Celebrating Mystery collection


  1. To forget the dead is to be alienated from part of oneself.
  2. When we liberate our ancestors from the myths that surround them we liberate ourselves.
  3. Remembering our ancestors gives life to ourselves and also to them, for we are our ancestors and they are us.



O God of the living and the dead, help us to reverence those who have  departed this life and to remember that they live on in us. Through reflecting on their lives may we gain a better understanding of ourselves and gather up into our own being what was best in theirs.



Deep in our minds live many tribes.

For all Christ’s friends. (STS1)

May our friend. (STS1)

Though the earthly life. (STS2)

Singing the Sacred Vol 1 2011, Vol 2 2014 World Library Publications




Who is the true descendant?

The one who owns the tribal lands?

has the manners or facial features

of the ancestors?

bears the family name?

holds the ancient heirlooms?

A person may have all of these yet still not be in dynamic relationship with the past;

for to imitate the past is to betray it,

but to live by its spirit (at its best)

is to fulfill it.

When we grasp what is central to the past

we lay hold of the future ‑

for future and past

are but two faces of life

and every experience of life

is encounter with the present.

(see Matthew 5:17b)



In my ignorance – arrogance

(call it what you will)

I had imagined

that whenever I spoke

it was I and only I who was addressing

the one, or the many.

But now,

since the death of my mother,

I have become aware that the dead speak

through the lives of the living,

and I can hear,

in my own words,

the voices of the past.

How strange that we imagine

ourselves to be

completely self-contained,

isolated individuals ‑

for life and creativity

are living processes

which do not come

in carefully separated

wholly independent units






but flow freely

throughout the time and space

of that cosmic community to which we all belong.

(see Hebrews 11:4b)



When I discovered

my great


buried in that so often

passed cemetery

the ordinary turf

became soil

for my spirit’s




  1. If I do not feel that I am linked with the dead then perhaps I should open my mind to more ancient wisdom than I am currently in touch with e.g. the wisdom of Feminine Spirituality.
  2. What plans have I made to pass on appropriate photographs and printed material to the next generation?

Celebrating Mystery Logo

LOGO NOTE: At the heart of the mystery all the separate boxes disappear and all is one, all is love.

Text and graphic © William Livingstone Wallace but available for free use.


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