NOVEMBER 1, 2020 SUNDAY
Dear Church Family,
Another church year quickly draws to a close – one that has been very difficult, and yet with God holding us a bit closer. One of the ways faith gives us hope, there’s more going on than we can see or experience as mortals. Even though we speak or sing of “angels and archangels, and all the company of heaven,” – do you imagine and feel their presence with you, even now as you read these words? Sunday is All Saints’ Day, followed by the day we recall those saints of our lives — living here and beyond. Even when we feel alone, or not understood, or discouraged – a great, loving company surrounds you.
As you pray the Collect, you can imagine the company of saints in your life, living and those who have died in Christ. You are part of this fellowship. Also pray faith to follow their examples, their path — to grow in faith and trust in God’s loving goodness for all.
Often the church relegates dimensions of All Saints’ Day to funeral meditations. We are so present-focused, we tend to neglect the past, and face a future that is an unavoidable mystery. This year the past and future surround these days. They point us past any parochialism and individualism – reminding us of our connectedness to saints, known and unknown in every age and generation. Often they have lived through hard times, themselves, as we are now. They are our brothers and sisters in Christ. This is a day to remember who we are, what we are about, and whose we are.
The glorious scene of the First Reading – from Revelation – stirs the imagination beyond a literal understanding of a place. Let your imagination kick in – the faithful gathered before God, worshiping and praising God continually, for what God does, the gift of salvation, healing, and restoring life. They come from everywhere – tribes, languages — a diverse gathering, speaking a common voice. God lovingly and gently tends their needs and cares for each.
The Psalmist speaks as one rescued by Yahweh. Images of food, and the lack of nothing are present – through all creation. Those who trust in God have nothing to fear, even in times of despair and fear — when all seems to be coming apart.
The Epistle from John points to a mystery we cannot comprehend or know now. We live by faith and trust in the Lord. You are safe, because you are God’s child, God’s beloved. We strive to align our lives as closely to his – as we know God, revealed in Jesus. We cannot make ourselves pure. We can draw as close as we can — committing our ways to follow the divine agenda and live in this world in our everyday thoughts and actions with others.
The Gospel, the Beatitudes or blessedness of those who seek and find the Lord, not in the ways of the world – power, wealth, happiness — but with spirits attuned to God, who mourn for those things that causes God to suffer with and for us, to realize our place in this world, and who is in charge. We pray for the strength to align with God’s concerns – mercy, purity of vision, peace, and not returning evil for evil. Heaven’s reward comes to earth as we seek to live as Jesus teaches and leads us into the loving presence of the Father.
Read and pray the Collect, the texts. Spend time with them. And make time to give thanks to God for your saints — of the distant past, and the recent past. Healing and hope go hand in hand when we remember this great company who’ve gone before us – and those who walk with us now. And finish your time of sacred reading in silence, meditating on God’s love holding you and within you for as long as you can spend with the Divine.Blessings, peace, and hope — as we prepare for this Sunday and our time together, Fr. Steve
All Saints Sunday – November 1, 2020
22nd Sunday after Pentecost – Year A
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.
The First Lesson
Revelation 7:9-17After this I, John, looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. “For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
1 John 3:1-3
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: