Summary: What happens when you put three congregations with people of a multitude of ethnicities? You have a foretaste of of the feast to come - where people of all ethnicities! This describes that multitude to a multitude
The Gathering of Concordia and Passion
All Saint’s Day, November 1st, 2009
The Reforming of All Saints!
† IN JESUS NAME †
Grace to you, the people of God, from God our Father and Lord Jesus Christ! AMEN!
A Site to See…..
What no eye could see! Nor ear here… nor even be conceived!
I am sure it will go un-noticed on that day…yet I would love to see the joy manifest in the face of one man on the day described in our reading from Revelation 7. I would love to see the joy on Abraham’s face, the inexpressible joy as he sees the parade of billions, walking into the presence of God.
They called him the father of nations, this man who trusted God, who believed that despite being older than everyone here, he would not be mocked with those words, but God himself would make them possible. On that day, the evidence will be clear, people of every nation, of every family, people of every language, a million or more times our number, and incredibly even more diverse. Hear God’s promise to Abraham,
“5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” Ge 15:5-6 (ESV)
On that day, we shall be in that crowd, a crowds scripture promises no one has the power to count. A massive group of people, all focused on the throne, all looking toward the lamb, all adorned with garments of white….
All the saints of God, reformed into one family, in one place, all together…all the descendants of Abraham, not descendants of blood, but as Romans says, people who have inherited the same faith, the same trust that in God that transcends man’s reasoning and logic. The kind of faith that will believe God when He tells you that at 100 years old, you will become not just the father of one son, but of nations. The kind of faith that grasps that God can deliver His people through the death of His Son, and gather them from every time and place into His presence. His people. Including all here who trust in Him!
It has been described, this point in time, by the apostle Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthian believers,
“No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared
for those who love him.” 1Co 2:9 (GW)
Adorned in white…are we the ones described?
Serving – worship - crazily crying Crying – God delivers!!!
That leads us to the people of God, the ones re-formed around the throne. Literally from everywhere, Every ethnicity, every family group, the people of God from every language, and every time. Picture Pr. Hsu standing next to John Chrysotom, or Pr. Lu standing next to Augustine, our elders and other leaders gathered around the apostles James and John, our praise teams and choirs joining in with the likes of Handel, and Charles Wesley, and Fannie Crosby and Chris Tomlin. As we realize that all of those who departed in the faith before us are there, along with the generations that will look back at us…
All are not just dressed, but adorned in glowing white robes, robes the scriptures talk as being washed in the blood of Christ. Robes which speak of being clothed as righteous. The salvation, the deliverance, this re-formation, the rescue of God pictured so complete, that nothing mars the beauty in which God has re-formed, recreated us.
Every once in a while, for fun, I make us do some math. Figure that you sin, that you fall short of God’s desire for your life 10 times a day. You either let something else be your God, or you gossip, or are envious. In thought word and or deed, somehow you don’t do what is right, or you do what is wrong. For me, it is somewhere in the area of 163, 342 sins. For my translator here, perhaps half that. Let’s say we have 300 people here today on campus, and I am an average age. That means 49,000,000 sins forgiven, because Jesus died for each of them! 49 million – just here! But Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t just for the Concordia and Passion congregations, but for the world, for people throughout time. For more people than anyone has power to count!
No wonder we are described as crying out with a loud voice, accompanied by a few billion other people, saved by the blood of Christ. No wonder we proclaim that our salvation is God’s. That He deserves all blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might!