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August Prayer for The Communion of Saints

I am writing this on a Sunday afternoon in Virginia as I sit in the local church yard, which is to say the cemetery of the church I attend, with about eighty other people. Friends and neighbors, fellow parishioners and strangers, we are scattered in small groups among the tombstones, some of which date back more than three centuries and others of which are less than three months old. The day has been hot—it is August, after all—but a breeze is stirring, and we are in shade. Wonderful trees live here—among them, three large hollies, a honey locust, a gingko. I turn to Jacques and Elizabeth. “What’s that tree behind you?” I ask. They are retired marine biologists. They know aquatic animals and

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