I didn't realize going into this book that it was Wright's response to a trend he was seeing in the Anglican church to bring back purgatory and traditional All Souls' observances. So, probably if a person views the purpose of Christ the King day the way Wright claims people are using it, it needs to be addressed. We observe All Saints' Day. We focus on the fact that God's people are to reflect the Light of Christ in our lives, and that this is only possible due to God's grace. 3. On All Souls' Day we observe that God's people are to share the Light of Christ with those who are still walking in darkness (those not included in the designation 'Saints') through our loving witness, both in word and deed; and that since we have no need to fear death, we can witness without fear. 1. We observe All Hallows' (Saints') Eve as a time to bring the themes of Christmas and Easter to their culmination, that Christ is the Light of the World who has overcome death, sin, and evil (the themes of the book of Revelation are quite appropriate in this regard and fit nicely with the "end" of the church year). Now, I'd like to think Wright would allow that reenvisioning All Souls' Day in such a way would be useful, at the least. Re. All Hallows' Eve, it is an inevitable cultural celebration where I live and since it gets its name from All Saints' Day, it seems logical to address it. I was forced to reevaluate Halloween when I, having been brought up to believe it was evil and 'satan's birthday' and sinful for Christians to celebrate, married a Christian who saw it merely as a day to dress up and get candy. Indeed, I agree that the ways most cultures, including our own, typically celebrate this holiday do in fact openly promote death, devils, witches and flagrant "appearances of evil" (1 Thess. The world sees death and evil as realities and it not only addresses them, but it embraces them one day a year in an attempt to lessen its fear of them. Instead, I have chosen to ask "What does Scripture teach us about death and evil?" "What does Christ's Kingdom have to offer to the world in relation to death and evil?" And, "Is this something to celebrate?" I think most Christians, when looking at the answers to those first two questions, would say 'yes' to the third. I think to the extent that a Christian or the Church wishes to engage the world around us through All Saints' Day, perhaps this is a good way to get that foot in the door. I think it's important to talk about it in a Christian way at other times of the year, separated from the celebration of the Firstborn from the Dead and from current grief.
However, while I love his bright and tight reasoning, I don't want to completely throw the baby out with the bath water and wish he would make space for or at least ask questions around how the two feast days can be re-imagined in the practice of the church.
This book is largely an opinion-piece about why Wright dislikes the tradition of All Souls' Day in Anglicanism. On the whole, Wright's arguments in this book read as a closed circle, rather than a well-researched, thoroughly considered discussion of the value of current ways Anglicans remember the dead.
Wright clearly explains that All Saints Day in the original Catholic tradition unnecessarily restricts sainthood to those canonized individuals when the Bible claims all Christians to be made saints by the justification in Jesus.
This idea runs through much, if not all of his work, e.g. that God's kingdom has broken in to space-time through Jesus incarnation, cross, and resurrection, and that the hope we have is of his eventual resurrection of all creation being made new. It doesn't mean we're trying to give them a special lift from Purgatory, but we are giving them to God. I think Protestants need a vocabulary for speaking of the deceased in a way that is more than simply closing the book on our interactions with God on behalf of them. Wright is extremely good at pointing out historical and exegetical viewpoints on scripture, but I'd like to see him interact more with historical Church tradition although he does dialogue with contemporary theologians quite well. A personal issue is that I think many theologians put such a high value on scriptural exegesis that they diminish traditional church teaching and interpretation.
The final destination occurs at the Great Resurrection when Jesus comes again. Revelation 21 is describing the existence of the faithful after the Great Resurrection. Wrights book offers a thoughtful, scriptural approach to questions about what happens to Christians after death. He observes that the scriptures do not answer all of our questions, but Gods Word does assure believers that they are not forgotten. In other parts of the book Wright allows the witness of Scripture to critique the message of Christian hymns, recent theological and liturgical innovations, and other faith traditions.