the one about life and death - All Saints Sunday
November 4, 2019, 7:27 AM

Sermon from November 3, 2019

All Saints Sunday

Text: Luke 6:20-31

Grace and peace to you from God our Creator and our Risen 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, if last Sunday was a ‘big’ day in the life of the Protestant Church, then today is an even bigger day in the life of the whole of Christendom. Today is All Saints Sunday.

For many, this is a difficult day, especially for those who have experienced the pain of death this past year. Where those emotions, that emptiness, that rawness is still ever present. But, for many more this is a day that is meaningful to all those who have experienced death in their life. The death of a parent, a spouse, a friend, a child. This is a day that we remember that we are a part of something so much larger not than ourselves, but larger than our tiny part of the Christian Church.

Today is the day that we remember what Paul wrote to the church in Rome so many generations ago – there is not one thing that separates us from the love of God in Christ our Lord – not even death. It is a deeply wonderful promise of faith and hope to hold on to during a difficult day like today.

But, as emotionally heavy as this day can be, this day is also a day of promise, hope, and life as well. For today – in our small part of Christendom, we get to celebrate the baptism of a beautiful child of God. We get to welcome a new family into our community. We get to remember that though we might die to Christ, we rise to new life from the depths of these holy waters of our baptism. Today, we get to remember that God’s yes for us extends throughout our life and even after death.

As we get to celebrate with Lendy and her family today, she gets to be welcomed into a wider community of love and grace. She gets to inherit an immense number of brothers and sisters. She gets to be welcomed into this community of faith. Where we together will promise to help her and her parents raise her in the faith. Teach her, love  her, hold her, cry with her, laugh with her, be with her during wonderful and difficult times. We get to model for her what it means to follow in this way of Christ, what it means to stand for those whom the world has cast aside, we get to teach her about Scripture, the prayers, and the creeds.

We also get to learn from her. As she grows and approaches this life of faith, she will be able to show us with fresh and new eyes what it might mean to love our neighbors, to care for those in need, to stand up for what is right and good.

She’ll get to teach us, because we will model for her the life of faith that has been modeled for us throughout our lives by the saints who have come and gone before us.

We get to show her what being a peacemaker means as we remember together Atlee Lindsay who was that balancing force of love in so many if not all of the different relationships that she was blessed to be a part of. We get to show her what love is like around food, as we remember together Marie Nicosia’s incredible ability to whip up the most delicious meals and serve them to all those around her. We get to show her what it means to take time and pause, to have patience and grace as we remember together Sara Franklin’s love for puzzles and games. We get to show her where this life of faith can lead you, how it can seep into your bones and your very soul, bursting forth in loving prayers for those in need as we remember together Rev. Ron Smith and his deep love for the church and to tell people about God’s love for them. We get to show her what it means to be hospitable and welcoming to those in your life – opening the door and inviting them in – no matter what – as we remember together Dot Epting’s life and love. We also get to show her that no matter what God will always love you, even when life becomes difficult, when our minds work against us, and steer us into dark depths – that God’s love surrounds us and our family and friends stick with us through it all. We get to show that as we remember together the life of Ron Seymour.

We get to show Lendy so much because we have been taught so much for we are a part of this great cloud of witnesses – this priesthood of all believers – this incredible gathering of saints. We get to model for her in this new baptized life all that God has shown us in those that have modeled that life of faith to us.

Today is All Saints Sunday, today is the day that we remember those who have gone before us. We acknowledge the pain of their absence, but we also remember the hope that we have in Christ our Lord, that though they may be separated from us, they are never and will never be separated from our God’s love. Ever.

As we live into that promise, as we live into that type of deep and real faith, we get to share that with the newly baptized. We get to share that with Lendy and with all those around us. Being guided by the Holy Spirit through those around us – those who have died, those who strive with us, and those who are to come.

We get to mourn and celebrate this day. That is the beauty of All Saints Sunday. That day where we remember that we are a part of something so much larger than we realize. A part of a community and family that struggles and celebrates with one another in this life of faith. A community of faith that teaches, learns from, and grows with one another. A community of faith that remembers and looks to the future in hope and promise, even through tears and memories.

We get to hear from our Lord today as he gathers in all those whom the world has push out. He opens this life of faith to those who were told they never had it – that they never had God with them. We remember today that God is indeed with them. God is indeed with us. God blesses us because God is with us always. With us in life. With us in death. God’s love never departs from us.

And because God’s love never departs from us, we are to care and love those around us. No matter what. For God is with them – even when the world pushes them aside because they don’t love the ‘right person’ or they don’t live like ‘everyone else’ or they work in a job that others consider ‘dirty’ or ‘less than’ or they act a little bit different from those around them.

This day reminds us that we are all in this together. God’s love envelopes all of us. We get to teach Lendy that. She will get to open our eyes and see how that love is lived out in beautiful and faithful ways. We get to learn from one another as we live into this life of faith – especially when it is so difficult. Loving through tears, hugs, clenched fists, prophetic words, and everything in between.

All Saints Sunday is a beautiful day. It’s a big day in the life of the church and thank God that we get to be with one another through it all. Amen.

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