Summary: A sermon for All Saints Sunday.
“God Refuses to Allow Death the Final Word”
John 11:1-3, 17-27, 32-44
There is a school of thought in some Christian circles that almost views death as so much of a blessing that you are not even allowed to cry…
But in the Bible, death is an enemy, and it can be a fierce one.
Death is ugly.
It destroys relationships.
It is repulsive.
Several years ago, a friend of mine, who spoke to his brother on the phone every week had been unable to “get a hold of him.”
By buddy’s brother had some form of autism, and lived in some kind of public assisted apartment building about an hour from where my friend lived.
After not being able to reach his brother, my friend drove to his brother’s apartment, opened the door only to find his brother dead on the floor.
He had been lying there for about a week.
Later, my friend said to me, “Ken, death is ugly.”
And so it is.
There is no getting around it.
My dad, at age 87, is getting pretty feeble.
And a few weeks ago, my mother and father were sitting at the breakfast table, when my dad suddenly cried out to my mom, “I need help.”
After that, I am told that his eyes rolled back in his head and his body went limp.
My mother didn’t call 9-11 because they do not want to have their lives prolonged at this point.
She was sure he was dying, and it scared her terribly.
When I found out about it, I sobbed and sobbed.
It made the inevitable very real.
I’m gonna miss my dad.
I love him beyond words.
What will life be like without him?
I can’t imagine.
Death breaks up families.
People miss those loved ones who have gone ahead of them.
Death is odious.
We can’t pretend otherwise.
But death does not have the last word!!!
And we can thank God for that.
We can thank God for our Savior Who promises, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will live, even though they die.
Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.”
On All Saints’ Day, we, the Church of the Risen Savior, turn our attention to those saints of our past, people whose lives bear witness to our hope, rooted in the Gospel, that proclaims God’s victory over death.
And as we celebrate this day, we do well to keep in mind that, as the passage from Hebrews, which we used as our Call to Worship, promises that we are “surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” who are cheering us on, who are waiting for us on the other side.
Therefore, we are called to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and…fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our faith…”
This is the Only Way!!!
In an age of war, famine, natural disasters like hurricane Sandy, epidemics, genocide, God offers us the faith that can move mountains—it’s the “countertestimony” to all manner of evil, brokenness, strife and the claims of the devil.
As we see in our Gospel Lesson, God steadfastly refuses to allow death the final word.