Tuesday, November 04, 2008

All Saints Day Sermon and Liturgy

The Scriptures for the All Saints Day sermon were: 1 John 3: 1-3 and Revelation 7: 9-17

Listen Here

And follow along with the notes if you wish:
Speak about ongoing sermon series, how it is interesting that in this Sunday previous to our voting Tues, we turn our attention to the politics that encompass this life and the next.

In our scripture readings, we see consistently that though it is impossible for us to comprehend the nature of our relationships with one another and with our God in the life after death, we are assured that there is a great peace, a great reunion, a great communion with God and with the Saints.

We use the term “saint” rather loosely compared with our Catholic brothers and sisters. We don’t ask that any earthly body approve who is a saint and who is not because we believe that if we are not sanctified before death, we are certainly sanctified at the moment of death,

If you aren’t familiar with that term, “sanctified,” what I’m referring to is that pinnacle state of grace when we are given the gift of returning to that original image that God created us in—displaying a “perfect love” for God and neighbor.

Our founder, John Wesley believed this state of grace was possible in our lifetime, and we celebrate that.

Living a “politics of eternity” is living with that goal as our primary focus—loving God and neighbor perfectly. It puts us in touch with the fact that even those who have gone before us continue to shape us and guide us through the love and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Many of us may have experienced that sense of presence and assurance from our loved ones after they have passed on to the next life, and if you take the assurance and peace that you have received from those encounters, and you apply them to your daily life—to the encounters and the relationships that you have on a day to day life, you are living inside this “politics of eternity.”

Living within this “politics of eternity” gives us a mandate to be open to others of different cultures and races and tribes. Notice the first line of our passage from Revelation, when John notices that those saints innumberable are from every “nation, tribe, people, and language, gathered there robed in white before the throne with palm branches in their hand.”

Living within the politics of eternity, living toward that goal of sanctification: perfect love, means living beyond the walls and boundaries and safety zones that we draw around the short sighted definitions of race, culture, nationality.

If you’re not ready to accept someone else because of their color or their culture, then you aren’t ready for heaven, because John sees that we are all gathered together in one place. Stretch yourself—be ready love those who you don’t know and can’t identify with as fully and capably as you love those in your own family or circle of friends.

But, on the other side of that same coin, living the politics of eternity means giving thanks and praise for those lives who have crossed our own, from whom we’ve grown with and discovered a new dynamic of love and devotion.

The lives of those have gone before us should be lifted up as a tribute of thanksgiving to the God who put that life together and loved it perfectly.

We give thanks today for the lives of all our brothers and sisters in creation—all the children of Earth and God. And we thank God especially for gifting us with the lives of those whom we have loved but lost only in a physical sense.

We thank God that through the politics of eternity, we have not lost those lives in a Spiritual sense, and will one day be in fellowship once again, in some way beyond our comprehension.

And so now as a reflection of that perfect communion and fellowship that surrounds God, we remember the meal that Christ offered us to preserve that Communion with him and the saints forevermore.

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