All Souls lost

I was going to do a post about All Souls’ Day, in particular whether Lutherans “do” All Souls’ Day and if not whether it is in any way redeemable for (Augsburg) evangelical Christianity.

But then work intervened (and is still intervening even now, at 10 pm – he said, angling for sympathy), so all I can offer you is NT Wright’s entertainingly waspish assessment of the All Souls’ state of play in the Church of England:

“The sort of hymn you are likely to find sung at All Souls’ commemorations these days is probably a piece of woolly Victoriana, hinting at purgatory without really coming out and saying it – which is what the entire commemoration, in its current Anglican mode, does at every point.”

– NT Wright, For All The Saints?

Those familiar with contemporary Anglican liturgy and worship will certainly recognise this picture of “studied ambiguity” – the need for language that is satisfactory for both “evangelicals” and “catholics”, even though interpreted differently by each group.

One particular irony in the Church of England is that the most famous All Souls in the C of E would be more likely to start sacrificing goats than celebrating All Souls’ Day, so that if you want All Souls you need to go down the road to All Saints. You follow?

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