For Nov. 6, 2011: All Saints’ Day, Year A

The Reading            Revelation 7:9-17

Last week we saw Joshua and the Israelites preparing to enter the Promised Land, and there were specific instructions and concrete descriptions. This week, for All Saints’ Day, we are with the apostle John seeing the revelation of God. It is no surprise that words fail John, who is trying to describe what we mortals cannot begin to comprehend. What is wondrously clear, though, is that, in Revelation, the way is open to all of God’s children.

 

The Epistle            1 John 3:1-3

The first letter of John brings back into this world the promise that Revelation gives—and the challenge: if we are God’s children here and now, how on earth do we live into that?

 

The Gospel                        Matthew 5:1-12

 

Further thoughts

The reading from Revelation makes the claim—which must have sounded very surprising, and perhaps still should—that the saints of God are countless and come from every people under heaven. The reading from the first letter of John makes an assertion that, if we follow it a little farther and take it seriously, is more mind-bending: that we are God’s children not because we’re Christian or even particularly good but simply and solely because God loves us.

In other words, lifestyle doesn’t lead to sainthood. Instead, sainthood leads to lifestyle. What can result from that shows exactly how a human family that functions as it should can model God’s family.

First and foremost: God our Daddy loves us whatever we do.

Second: choices still have consequences, and our own bad choices or someone else’s can lead to scars that we’ll bear for life—though through God’s love these scars can be redeemed and can lose their power to stunt us or those around us.

Third: as we learn and pray, and with the example of our big brother Jesus and the help of our brothers and sisters here on earth, we can grow into making the sorts of choices that please Daddy and help redeem this world.

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