Summary: All Saints Day Cycle B
Let Us Pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for sending your Son Jesus Christ to die for us so that we are able to experience the joys and passions of the New Jerusalem, your paradise. Thank you for weeping for all of humanity, through your death and suffering we believe and have faith that we have received a second chance. Amen.
Sermon: Today we read the shortest verse in the Bible, "Jesus Wept". I remember that this was the first complete Bible verse that learned as a child. As was tradition in my family of origin, directly after grace we would go around the table and say a Bible verse starting with my Father. The older members of the family would repeat these elaborate verses from both the Old and New Testament, but when it came to me, I did not know what to say, so I would say, ¡§Amen¡¨ and as I became a little older my mother said, ¡§Nellie, just repeat after me, ¡§Jesus Wept¡¨ I repeated the bible verse for the longest time, after about a year, my mother recalls I asked ¡§Mommy why (did) Jesus Wept?¡¨( yes, wept not weep). Jesus cried because he was very sad. Sometime later during the meal while debating what to place on my spoon rice and peas or applesauce, I asked ¡§Mommy why was Jesus sad? Why did he cry? Wasn¡¦t he happy?¡¨ - (Have you ever heard dead silence? Well that was the first of many times that I clearly recall dead silence).
As I grew older I learned the story about Jesus arriving too late to save his friend Lazarus¡¦ life. I discovered that the sister¡¦s Mary and Martha we pretty upset with Jesus for arriving after the fact. But I did not understand the tears until in 1968, my older cousin, an expert swimmer drowned. And I as I sat with the family and shed my tears, my mother planted a seed of faith, one that would blossom for decades to come, she told me that Jesus has already received ¡§Punchy¡¨ and that he would have eternal life because he was a child of God. ¡§Okay, so when do we get to see him again?¡¨ The answer I received was quite confusing to me my mommy stated, ¡§Not for a while until we all get to heaven.¡¨
„« Children like adults can become very confused when the topics of death and sadness come into play.
„« Death is a subject of polite conversation, without of course being general.
„« The church has an ambivalent attitude/relationship about. They seem to love and hate death, usually hate than love. (Theological and emotional reasons become at war.)
„« Death is scary, there is little known about it and when it rears its ugly head we are vulnerable.
„« Death feeds further life.
„« ¡§Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies it does not bear much fruit.¡¨
„« Death ushers most of us into the heavenly presence of God.
„« Christ is the Lord of Life and has indeed won victory over death whether we understand the particulars about death this we can be assured.
On this All Saint¡¦s Sunday, remember Christ who died and is now risen, the same Christ will come again to gather his kingdom, his sheep, his creation all of his beloved baptized children to himself. Today we celebrate the baptized people of God living and dead, who make up the body of Christ. Today we joyfully, in one sense, remember all the faithfully departed, especially those most dear to us who have died in the Lord. Some of our hearts may still be heavy, but in the midst of our loss and grief God wipes away the tears from our eyes. (For some those tears never seem to dry up fast enough, I know) Rest assured and shout alleluia because they are rejoicing around the throne of God and Christ is there as he is here with all saints. Alleuia! The promise of Alpha and Omega being with us as we journey to the New Jerusalem is true. The Lord¡¦s supper is a foretaste of what is to become. Gather with all the saints around the feast and trust that Jesus has victory over the grave and death and Jesus has taken the disgrace of sin from God¡¦s people and we will be resurrected in Christ.