Working in a church death is a fairly routine part of life. But, family death and parish death have brushed our lives with more than the usual presence in the past month.

I am reminded of the fundamental reality that presses in upon my life with greater weight as each year passes.

I am going to die.

The years remaining to me in this physical material realm are fewer than the years I have lived so far. The day is approaching when my body will be consumed by fire and my cremated remains deposited in the ground next to my grandmother, aunt, parents, sister, and mother-in-law. I will be gone from the world of sense perception.

Today is a day when Christian tradition urges us to contemplate the reality of death. Today is All Hallow’s Eve, the evening before All Hallow’s (All Saints’) Day.

On All Saints’ Day we are invited to contemplate the possibility that the barrier we normally perceive between this life and whatever follows our physical death may be more permeable than we might assume from the evidence of our physical senses. We are encouraged to consider that physical death may not be the terminus of human existence. There may be a dimension beyond the physical in which all beings who have ever existed continue in some form to dwell.

Today is a “thin day.” Today we open to the possibility that those who are departed may in some holy way continue to engage in a sacred interchange with the tangible realm occupied by those of us who have yet to make our final transition into the mystery of death.

This evening as ghosts and goblins stalk our city streets in search of treats, I am challenged to wonder what I authentically believe about death.

I know that long ago I chose to believe that Jesus lived a human physical life essentially indistinguishable in most aspects from the lives of his contemporaries. He walked the streets of ancient Palestine, got tired, ate, slept, engaged in conversation, and even, at times, felt frustrated.

And yet, I believe that, after his crucifixion, Jesus was not confined to the realm of physical death. In some mysterious but powerful way, his friends encountered Jesus three days after he had departed. Gradually, they came to believe that Jesus could never die again and that he continued to dwell among them and with them. He had penetrated the veil of physical death; the separation between this life and the other was suddenly less dense.

This belief defies the evidence of my physical senses, just as it went against anything Jesus’ original followers could see, touch, taste, smell, or hear as their journey through life continued in the years after Jesus finally departed in any physical form from this material realm. But I know that life as I experience it is not adequately summed up by the evidence of my physical senses.

I perceive realms and realities I cannot taste, touch, smell, hear, or see. The intangible beauty of life hints at other dimensions. I am moved by the mystery of being and the love that stirs unexplainably in my heart. I cannot see these stirrings, nor identify their cause. I cannot convince you they exist; but I know they are nonetheless real.

It is not a great leap to affirm that, when my body dies, a great new numinous dimension of life will open before me.  I will step into a realm that transcends the physical and  will  in some way be able to identify all other beings who have preceded me into this deep realm of mystery.

So, on this All Hallow’s Eve I affirm that the dark is only dark to my impoverished perception. The darkness of death opens into the dawn of a new and transforming light that I glimpse in the life death and resurrection of Jesus and that I touch in the transcendent beauty and light of this life.

This I know for sure, there are many more dimensions to existence than can be contained by my physical perceptions. There is a vast mystery into which I believe I will fall at the time of my death. At the centre of that mystery is the power of  love who holds me in this life and will not forsake me at the moment of death.