November 7, 2021 – All saints Sunday

Posted on November 9, 2021

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November 7, 2021 – All saints Sunday

In the funerals of the departed, accompany them with singing – for precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

-The Apostolic Constitutions 380 AD

One of the reasons why I love our church is because of this particular day.

All Saints Sunday.

We believe by faith that we are always a part of a larger community of God’s people.

Even death cannot and will not -ever take that away from us.

This day names that truth.

In Romans chapter eight we hear that nothing will be ever separate us from God’s love in Jesus Christ.

And in Hebrews chapter twelve we hear that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.

We are not alone.

All of us know what it is like to be alone.

The solitude that comes and that is not welcomed.

The loneliness that pulls us deeper into despair.

None of us are immune to such feelings.

But on this All-Saints Sunday we have the people that surround us today in worship.

We also have the people that have died and who now rest from their labors who are with us even now.

We all are a part of this great community – of God’s people.

Growing up in the church I was a part of many different Lutheran congregations in the Midwest as my father followed his call as a pastor in churches in Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

And one of the great discoveries that I made, in being a member of all of these different churches, is that no matter what church I was at, I was with God’s people.

Every church I was at with no exceptions I was with God’s people.

Then later in my first congregation out in Iowa – I discovered that I was with God’s people.

Then in my next church – I discovered that I was with God’s people.

Today in this church – in this very congregation I am with God’s people.

We are God’s beloved people.

And today we remember God’s people – God’s saints who have died.

Today we also remember those who were recently baptized and who have joined the family of God and we remember those who will be baptized.

On this day I think about Avery Gibson and Skylar Gibson who were baptized this past year in our church.

I think about Cameron, Connor, and Kaitlyn who will be baptized later this morning.

These children are joining with God’s people through baptism.

If you would, consider for a moment all the saints that you know, those people in your life who are surrounded by God’s grace and love -those who have died who we remember today and those who are still living.

Think about the great web of connections that you have made in your life.

Surely, thinking about all these people will bring you great joy.

On All Saints Sunday we are reminded that we are all saints, that in Christ we are all made one, that in Christ we are all redeemed and are promised life beyond the grave.

Tomorrow there will be a funeral here in this church.

At every funeral service I use this prayer from the liturgy:

Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant.  Acknowledge we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming.  Receive them into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light.  Amen.

We are sinners who are redeemed by God and made saints.

In life sometimes I think we get so caught up in our day-to-day activities that we forget that we have this wonderful hope as God’s people.

In Christ there is a life beyond this life.

At death there is a way for us to continue with life and that is possible because of Christ.

We are a redeemed people and one day we will be brought into God’s eternal kingdom.

To get there we will need to cross that great divide which is death.

This thought can be scary but remember- we do not cross that divide by ourselves.

We do it with Christ.

We do it with God’s people.

As Christians we believe that Jesus stands in that doorway between ordinary time, the time in which we live, and eternity and there in that sacred space Jesus says to us:  “I am with you.”

Death does not have the final word.

In fact, death will never have the last word.

The most amazing miracle that Jesus did in his life was to conquer death.

The glory of God was perfectly revealed to us in the resurrection.

And we are invited to receive the new life that only he offers.

The Bible story of Lazarus is about resurrection, new life, new hope, and the story is ultimately about God’s power over death.

It says in the Scriptures that Lazarus was in the tomb for four days.

In Jewish tradition there was three days of grieving and then on the fourth day the tomb was permanently sealed and the person was understood to be dead.

Jesus arrives at the grave of Lazarus after Lazarus has been there in the tomb for four days.

He is dead.

But Jesus is the resurrection and the life.

Death cannot and will not stop him.

Jesus conquers death.

He did it for himself and he will conquer death for us.

We do have hope in the life to come.

Even in our darkest days when we feel alone, we look to the promise that is freely ours in Jesus.

May this All-Saints Sunday be a great reminder for us of the resurrection.

May our presence here give witness to the great cloud of witnesses – the saints that are always around us.

And may we live our lives as if the eternal is now because God is with us.

Join Us for Sunday Worship

  • 8:00 a.m. In-Person Morning Prayer with Holy Communion
  • 9:30 a.m. In-Person & Virtual Worship with Holy Communion
  • 9:45 a.m. Sunday School
  • 11:00 a.m. Bible Study

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