Pondering for Friday, November 1, 2019

Eucharistic Readings for All Saint’s Day 2019                                                             

Ecclesiasticus 44:1-14; Psalm 149Revelation 7:2–4,9–17Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed are”

These are the words we have as the Gospel of Matthew presents the Beatitudes in Chapter 5.  There are 9 “Blessed Are”s.  

Today is All Saints Day.  Today we remember those who are lifted up from our midst and honored for their devotion and service to others in Jesus’ Name.  We have those who are famous like St Francis and Joan of Arc. And we have those not so famous on the world stage like people in our own life where only a few of us knew of their good and honorable deeds.  This latter category of saints is normally recognized on November 2nd as we commemorate the lives of the faithful departed or All Souls Day. I am doing a combined service this Sunday to remember all Saints, famous and personal.

Something to notice from the famous saints are the challenges they were required to endure on their unintended climb to sainthood. The Beatitudes mentioned in Matthew speak to this.  Each and every “Blessed Are” shows a challenge or some level of suffering before eternal joy comes.  The Saints also underwent challenges. Certainly St Francis and Joan of Arc did as did all those we hold in high esteem.

As we look at those whom we want to recognize as saints we must ask ourselves if they too faced challenges and faced them with steadfast Christian courage.  In our later years we have Mother Teresa and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and others.  I don’t think we have to depend on any one church to determine for us who is a saint and who is not.  St Paul typically referred to all worshiping communities as saints of that city.  It is an inclusive term of endearment meant for those recognized as tenacious people of faith, no matter what. And so, let us recall the words (by Lesbia Scott) of the hymn “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” as found in our 1982 Hymnal where the words of the last verse are:

“They lived not only in ages past, there are hundreds of thousands still, the world is bright with the joyous saints who loved to do Jesus’ will.  You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea, in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea, for the saints of God are just folk like me and I mean to be one too.”

Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to and through the saints of God and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do.  John+

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