All Saints Sunday 2022 The Communion of Saints
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let me begin by asking a question. Do we have any saints here today? It may surprise some of you to hear that a saint is anyone who is baptized and believes in our Lord Jesus Christ.
So, let me ask you again, are there any saints here today? (Let’s see a show of hands). Good.
I think we need to be reminded that we are indeed saints because too often we think of ourselves as just sinners. And we forget that we are saints too. Luther wrote that Christians are saints and sinners at the same time. Even though we are not able to fully live into God’s goodness and mercy, we are saints because we are forgiven sinners.
Yes, we remain sinners after baptism, but we are saints because our relationship with God has changed because of God’s grace.
“What is grace?” you ask. Grace is simply defined as “undeserved love.” In the Bible we see grace a God’s faithful love that moves Him to forgive sin.
I think most of us can remember the most famous passage in the Bible. The passage states: “For God so love the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Brothers and sisters in Christ, it is because of God’s love – His amazing Grace – that we can be called saints.
Ephesians puts it this way. “For by grace you have been saved through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Our salvation comes from the faithful, underserved love of God for the whole world. It is not something we can earn.
And that is why we can gather today on All Saints Sunday with joy. All Saints Sunday is like a family reunion of all the saints and sinners. Today we celebrate with all the saints – past, present, and future.
Today we give thanks for all the faithful who have gone before us. And we delight in the new brothers and sisters in Christ who have recently joined us through the sacrament of Holy Baptism.
Now I know that some of you bring pain with you as we gather to celebrate All Saints Sunday. Maybe your favorite saint is not with us in person. Maybe you are mourning a friend, a spouse, a child, a grandmother or a grandfather, or some other important person in your life whose inspiration and encouragement meant a lot to you.
Maybe you are not in mourning today - for anyone in particular - but still experience grief due to the losses that can pile up in our daily lives. Please know that it is ok to bring to our family reunion today all those feelings in all their complexity.
Jesus knows all about our trials. And He knows all about our weaknesses. And He did something about it.
Today in our gospel text we are told that Jesus left His high advantage point and went down to the people and stood on a level plain with them.
And He looked at His disciples and He said to them “Blessed are you who are poor, blessed are you who are hungry, blessed are you who weep now, and blessed are you when people hate you, exclude you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.”
Jesus is telling us that we are blessed because He has redeemed us. He is telling us (His people) to never give up hope even when life is not unfolding the way we had wanted because He is with us.
And He reminds us to never surrender to despair even when we have lost someone we love or when our lives are full of uncertainty because nothing can separate us from god’s love.
You are mine; Christ tells us. I will never leave you or forsake you. I love you. Do not give up. The hunger, the sadness, and the pain you are experiencing now will one day come to an end.
Listen again to Christ’s Word. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great heaven.”
Rejoice and be glad, because the trials and tribulations of this world do not have the last say. Do you believe this to be true?
The Apostle Paul certainly did. He wrote “I am convinced that neither death, no life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
Let me ask you again. “Do we have any saints here today?” Yes, we do. You and I belong to the “Communion of Saints,” the fellowship of those in the past, the present, and the future who are united to Christ in baptism.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you for claiming us as your saints. In spite of our sinful lives, you look at us and see Christ’s perfect life and death covering our lives. Thank you for this grace, the grace we received when we were baptised. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.