Note: The following is the intro post from last Monday. Although we had full intentions on writing about the topic, all three of us had life hit us hard and none of us had the ability to sit down and post. So, we want to get back on track and write what we had originally intended. Accept our apologizes and join in as we discuss the lectionary topic from last week.
There are many festivals and feasts on the church calendar we write through (Advent, Lent, Pentecost), but there are also many more we tend to look over for a variety of reasons. One of these festivals fell yesterday that tends to be celebrated more by eastern orthodox churches called “All Saints Day”. Typically we would move past this one, but instead wanted to take the opportunity to remember those that went before us – just like the festival.
The idea of sainthood seems to confuse most of us who are not a part of a “high church” tradition. Why should there be some who are elevated to a special status while others are just forgotten? What would one have to do to be enshrined in stained glass or sculpted into a bronze bust?
At the heart of sainthood lies the desire to keep the significant people of faith and those who have impacted our personal story from fading into the past. We want to remember Peter, James, Paul, and especially Jesus. We want significant figures from church history like Luther and St. John of the Cross to impact our lives today.
So, since we don’t really engage actively in presenting sainthood to the people in our lives, we would like to take the opportunity to talk about those who have been “saints” in our lives. At this point of our lives, would would be enshrined in the stained glass of our cathedrals? Who has made an impact lasting generations beyond?
Join us this week as we explore the saints in our lives. And of course, share yours as well!
One day as he saw the crowds gathering, Jesus went up on the mountainside and sat down. His disciples gathered around him, and he began to teach them.
“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands. And they were shouting with a great roar,
“Salvation comes from our God who sits on the throne
and from the Lamb!”
And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living beings. And they fell before the throne with their faces to the ground and worshiped God. They sang,
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom
and thanksgiving and honor
and power and strength belong to our God
forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the twenty-four elders asked me, “Who are these who are clothed in white? Where did they come from?”
And I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who knows.”
Then he said to me, “These are the ones who died in the great tribulation. They have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb and made them white.
“That is why they stand in front of God’s throne
and serve him day and night in his Temple.
And he who sits on the throne
will give them shelter.
They will never again be hungry or thirsty;
they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun.
For the Lamb on the throne
will be their Shepherd.
He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.
And God will wipe every tear from their eyes.”
Psalm 34:1-10, 22
A psalm of David, regarding the time he pretended to be insane in front of Abimelech, who sent him away.
I will praise the Lord at all times.
I will constantly speak his praises.
I will boast only in the Lord;
let all who are helpless take heart.
Come, let us tell of the Lord’s greatness;
let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.
He freed me from all my fears.
Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy;
no shadow of shame will darken their faces.
In my desperation I prayed, and the Lord listened;
he saved me from all my troubles.
For the angel of the Lord is a guard;
he surrounds and defends all who fear him.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!
Fear the Lord, you his godly people,
for those who fear him will have all they need.
Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry,
but those who trust in the Lord will lack no good thing.
But the Lord will redeem those who serve him.
No one who takes refuge in him will be condemned.
1 John 3:1-3
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.
Thank you for giving us wisdom and knowledge by those who have come before us.
Thank you for their willingness to serve, teach, and to sacrifice.
Help us to know we are not products of our own effort
But, by your great design we find people who have done it better, and a greater grace
Help us remember those who have gone before us and what they have done to change us.