Feast of All Saints 2015

Bible Text: Matthew 5:1-12

+ In Nomine Jesu +

It is more quiet now.

Quiet in this church, and quiet in our homes

There are a few less voices singing from the pews.

There are a few less faces around the dinner tables.

Death has ripped apart our family.

And while we know that Christ has an answer for this,

It can be hard to remember exactly what that is.

We just want to be a family again.

So maybe that’s why a day like All Saints can be so difficult for all us.


The truth is, that when our Lord was doing what he does best back in Eden –

after he spoke creation into being with a word,

when he made Adam from the dirt

and Eve from his side,

he never intended for the eyes he gave you to shed tears of sorrow

he never intended for the heart he gave you to break

he never intended for any of us to see this day.

Because contrary to the world’s wisdom, this is not how it is supposed to be


What our Lord created was a world of peace.

But death, on the other hand, is an act of violence.

And violence shreds families and friends and marriages and relationships.

So when we today remember our faithful departed,

we would mourn a for a broken community as well.

Except we know that those who died this past year

Died the Jesus way

Having been drowned in the waters of Holy Baptism

and raised a new creation

Means that when you fall asleep in Christ

You don’t die.

You did that already.

Instead, you enter into a community that resembles Eden.

It’s a community where you play when Jesus plays,

and sing when Jesus sings,

and eat when Jesus eats,

and drink when Jesus drinks.

It’s a community

that can be described in every sense of the word,

as paradise.

 It’s heaven!

It’s the place of the Saints,

Where they eat and drink and pray and praise our Lord!

For them, for Christ’s beloved Saints, that beautiful, joyous, prayerful conversation never stops…

But week in and week out…

We get the chance to drop in and listen…

We listen to a conversation that began long before we were born…

And one that will continue long after we leave this place…

A conversation between God and his people…

Week in and week out…

We get to listen as the saints sing and speak and pray and eat and drink and make merry

And even better: we even get to join them…


But as long as they are there, and we here,

today remains more bitter than sweet.


Because we long to be together again

To see their faces

And hear their voices.

And feel their embrace.

We long to be family again.

Because this is not the way it is supposed to be.

Death is unnatural.

And it throws us out of alignment

with those saints who have gone to heaven before us.


And yet if you check the references to “heaven” in the Bible,

you’ll find that few of them are related to death.

Heaven, as Scripture tells us, is where Jesus is

heaven is the place where Jesus fully and finally gets what He wants.


And so the great message of All Saints’

is not that our faithful departed

are now in some place beyond our imagination.

But that they are now with Jesus.

And if heaven is where Jesus is,

then heaven is here today,

and so are they.

And so as Jesus comes to us this morning in the Gospel text read just now, speaking blessings – The Beatitudes.

We may ask what exactly this has to do with the Feast of All Saints…


Contrary to what you might think…

This list of blessed’s…

Is not a list of to-do’s

If it were, then I’m afraid that His words to us here are not exactly good news

No. This list is more like Jesus looking in a mirror…


The beatitudes are Christ…

It is Jesus who is poor in Spirit…

Jesus mourns…

Jesus is meek…

Jesus hungers and thirsts for righteousness…

Jesus is merciful…

Jesus is pure in heart…

Jesus is the peacemaker…

Jesus is persecuted…

And Jesus is reviled…

It is Jesus, who is our living beatitude…our living blessing…


But because our Lord has baptized you into His Name,

what goes for Christ…

Also goes for you…

What goes for Christ goes for all his saints…


So yes, blessed are those faithful ones…those living beatitudes…

Who died this past year…

Blessed are Jerry

And Muriel

And Marjanne

Blessed are they who were Baptized at the font

Blessed are they who were forgiven in Holy Absolution

Blessed are they who were fed at the altar

Blessed are they…because of what Jesus, our living beatitude, did to them…

Blessed are they who have fought the good fight of faith…

Blessed are they who now behold Jesus face-to-face…

And so those blessed four

are all here this morning,

gathered round about,

praying with you,

singing with you,

eating with you,

and drinking with you.

They are here

because Christ is here,

and because Christ is here,

there are no gaps between us and them,

between now and then,

between earth and Eden.


in this place,

we are one with those in heaven, as much as we are one with those on earth.

There is no one in this room who hasn’t suffered.

Some of you have buried loved ones this year.

But all of you have, at one time or another,

returned a loved one to the earth.

It is never easy.

Some are harder than others.

And some deaths are much too difficult for our accepting.

But all of that,

means that this All Saints’ is its own form of healing.

Because we know that heaven is where Jesus is,

and where Jesus is so are his saints –

and that is the safest place to be.

We know that those saints are doing just fine.

They are wrapped up in the warm embrace of Jesus;

They are singing with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven.

And they are having a very good day – an endless day, actually.

And for us, here, on this day, here in our Lord’s Holy Supper

Christ brings nothing less than Himself, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity

Here in His Body, Jesus brings Heaven crashing down to earth


And when you begin to comprehend that reality,

that you’re loved ones are not dead, but alive in Christ

When you begin to comprehend the reality that heaven and earth

are one in this Holy Meal where you consume the one who swallowed up death forever,

then there’s every chance

that you might leave today,

grieving – yes –

but grieving as those who have hope.

hope that Jesus,

our living beatitude,

came to this very earth for these very saints –




 And Marjanna

And the knowledge that he has come here for all of you too.

He will not leave you.

He can’t stop loving you.

He is for you.

He is for them.

He is for us.

And He makes us a family again.

+ In Nomine Jesu +

About Pastor Hopkins

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