the one about all the saints...
November 5, 2018, 8:00 AM

Sermon from November 4, 2018 - All Saints Sunday

Text: John 11:32-44

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and our Lord and Savior Jesus who is the Christ – will y’all pray with me? May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord, our rock and our redeemer; amen!

So, I saw written this past week that this Sunday – this All Saints Sunday – is the one that is filled with the most tears. This is a day that is bathed in our tears. Our tears as we remember those who have died. Our tears that are shed in those wonderful memories that we hold so dear. Our tears that are shed as we feel that absence of those closest to us once more. Our tears that never leave us as we mourn parents, siblings, friends, and children.

Our tears couple with Jesus’ tears this morning as we read of our Lord who weeps. That is a powerful image to hold to our hearts. The one in whom we worship; the one who is the beginning and the end; the one who brings life from death – that one weeps with us.

For me, this has been a year with deaths I would never expect as I had two friends die this past summer. I attended both of their funerals and was witness and a participant in those shed and shared tears.

I’ve also been with you, I’ve humbly walked into those holy spaces and shed tears with you as you mourned the death of parents, spouses, and children.

I’ve seen the tears you’ve shed as you talked so lovingly of those who have entered the church triumphant. I’ve seen the tears that streak down as the thought of future moments will not come to pass.

I’ve seen the tears as you welcomed and received those who gathered with you. Who sent cards, who brought food, who sat with you in silence.

Those tears that come as a shock and a surprise, those tears with the question and statement in the back of our mind where we say, “Wow, they came to be with me today… thank you.”

For me, those are the tears we gather together with our Lord’s. Those are the tears that remind us of the Body of Christ and the community of faith in which we surround ourselves and live into.

In our gospel this morning, Jesus enters into one of those holy and somber moments. His friend Lazarus – the brother of Mary and Martha – has died. We don’t know how or why he died. We don’t know whether it was an accident out in the field or if he became untimely ill. The how doesn’t matter, what does matter is that community gathers to mourn with Mary and Martha and the rest of Lazarus’ family.

It seems as if the whole village comes to wail, weep, and beat their chests in despair and sadness at the death of this man. The cries ring out and the tears flow freely down glistening cheeks.

It is here that Jesus enters humbly into this holy space. This is the moment – surrounded by so much grief, sadness, and even a bit of anger – that Jesus shares in those tears and begins to weep as well.

Our Lord weeps with us. Our Lord weeps with us as we remember Ed, and Fred, and Legrand, and Madeline, and Margaret, and Craig, and Willene. Our God has come down to be with us, to have life with us, to show this overflowing and limitless love for us and all of creation.

Our God comes to weep with us. To mourn. To gather with us. To stand by us. To sit with us. Wail with us.

Our God comes to show the limitless love by sharing with us life and death.

Our Lord in his weeping, has come to wipe away those tears, not so that we forget the loss, forget the person, or just plain forget. Our Lord wipes away our tears because as Jesus enters into this holy space, he brings hope and new life.

Our tears are wiped away not to forget what has happened, but to point us to the joy that is to come and that which awaits us.

That time that in our remembrance we will shed new tears, not of sadness or loneliness or frustration. But, we will shed tears of joy, excitement, and shock.

When I am honored to lead a funeral service I see so many tears, but the tears that I cherish are the tears of joy and recognition when someone sees another and they share in that unspoken and never-ending love.

Where there sadness together mixes up with the thankfulness that they are there together. I see those tears at visitations and I see those tears after the funeral. When were all just standing around and sharing in stories and sharing in a meal.

In our first lesson we read of the prophecy of Isaiah, the future that is to come when God will gather all people upon that holy mountain. Where tears will be wiped away because death has been vanquished forever. And in that moment, we will sit down, and we will feast. We will feast with one another. Sharing stories of life and grace. Sharing stories of love and loss. Sharing stories of joy and celebration.

I don’t know about y’all that day, but I’m probably still going to cry. Not in sadness or mourning – for those tears will be wiped away because death will be no more – but, I believe I will shed tears of thankfulness and gratitude. Tears that express my love and joy for the kingdom of God and the Body of Christ in which we all get to be a part of. To see that community lived out fully and completely.

Tears will be shed that day. And I feel our Lord will share in those tears as well. Tears of gratitude, of hope, of grace, of mercy.

This day a lot of tears are shed – and that is OK. It is good for us to shed tears. This day we remember that our Lord sheds tears with us. Joining in our mourning. And with tears in our eyes, we look to the cross and the one who calls out – Lazarus – come out!

For in Christ, death has been swallowed up, death has lost its sting. Life is victorious and new life reigns this day and all days.

It is going to be a great feast, and I cannot wait to share it with you all my friends – my fellow saints past and present.

Tears will be shed that day, and I can’t wait to share them with you and our God. Amen.

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