Ephesians 1:11-23 and Luke 6:20-31
All Saints Sunday
November 6, 2022
The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor
Rush United Methodist Church
Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, 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 in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
“Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.
“Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt.
Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
| Centering Prayer |
Our hope is in Jesus Christ.
Our hope is in Christ crucified and risen from the dead.
On this sacred Sunday
the saints from our church family and community
Who have died in the Lord this past year
And who now have received the fulfillment of hope;
The forgiveness and absolution of every sin,
and, the gift of eternal life.
Jesus Christ is what unites us.
He holds us together as one.
Our beloved saints
Were baptized by the same water that flowed over the Lord
When he was baptized in the chilly Jordan;
The same water that we were baptized with
Before our own font,
or in our own stream or lake.
Our beloved saints lived as sinners,
Much as we do,
Yet, returned to God’s house of prayer
To seek forgiveness and absolution of sins.
Our beloved saints
Sat in these same pews and chairs,
And experienced the Word proclaimed
That gave the foundation for hope.
Our beloved saints
Came humbly before this same altar table,
And celebrated the sacrament of the Eucharist,
Bread and wine,
The Body and Blood of Christ,
Broken and shed for each and every one of us.
Indeed, Jesus Christ is what unites us.
From Ephesians 1:11-23 we read:
In Christ we have also obtained an inheritance, having been destined according to the purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to his counsel and will, so that we, who were the first to set our hope on Christ, might live for the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and had believed in him, were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit; this is the pledge of our inheritance toward redemption as God’s own people, to the praise of his glory.
I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you as I remember you in my prayers. I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power.
God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come. And he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
Today, we join with the saints
For the praise of Jesus Christ, and his glory,
As the Apostle Paul so eloquently wrote to the church in Ephesus.
Praise God from whom all blessings fall!
As the heavenly host sang
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!
Give thanks to Jesus Christ for his inheritance,
His gifts of grace
To each of his disciples.
To know Christ,
To grow deeper in love with Christ,
To develop an understanding of the inheritance Jesus has given to us,
Like the saints before us,
We’ve been given a Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
Wisdom and revelation opens the eyes of our hearts
To know the hope to which saints are called.
Allow me for a moment,
To use the Gospel to bring our celebration of saints
Into the context of our current state of affairs.
Wisdom and revelation are in short supply this (and every) election cycle.
It appears “truth” has been the first casualty.
There are as many truths as there are news channels on cable television.
Without discernment that leads to God’s revelation,
There can be no truth,
Only half-truths, lies, and damn lies.
Jesus people, do not despair!
Jesus gives his disciples, you and me, our politic,
If only we choose to listen, to think, and to open our hearts.
The politic of the Christian are not Republican or Democrat,
Liberal or Conservative.
The Spirit has given to us the inheritance of Jesus;
His grace and
Today’s word comes from his “Sermon on the Plane.”
With saints who have gone before us,
We are united with Jesus Christ and his Gospel politic.
What say you about the poor?
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God, … But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” Jesus responds.
Wisdom comes when we discern God’s will
To wipe poverty off the face of the earth.
Poverty is the result of greed, theft, embezzlement.
Christ calls us to love our neighbor,
Not to swindle or steal from our neighbors.
Disciples of Jesus are called to teach the world,
By word and example,
How to love our neighbors, especially the poor.
What say you about the hungry?
“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.” Jesus responds.
Like at a restaurant when more friends arrive,
Is not God calling us to add another table?
To pull up more chairs?
Extend the table and add more chairs
Such that everyone who is hungry might be fed.
And, oh yeah, for those who have the means,
Pick up the check for those who don’t.
The weaponizing of food,
As is being done in the Russian Ukraine war,
Is an ghastly politic
That is contrary to the politic of the Gospel.
There is no reason for anyone to go hungry in the world today,
Either in North Korea, South Africa, Guatemala, or under the Court Street bridge.
It’s up to us, as Christ’s disciples, to ensure everyone is fed.
What say you about those who weep?
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Jesus proclaims.
Saints who have gone before us tasted death and grief,
For many, numerous times in their lives.
Much of death and grief in our experience
Is at the natural conclusion of the life cycle.
Yet, there is also a secular politic of death
Being played out on battlefields
With horrific civilian casualties and
Refugees fleeing the violence.
Grip global adversaries in war, or near war,
Leaving unintended, collateral damage spewing in every direction.
There is even a death politic in American culture
Where schools fail, crime roams, and families divide.
America cries with death and grief.
The world moans in travail with senseless murder and mayhem.
Yet, know this to be TRUE:
The politics of death have no rule over
Our Savior who triumphs over the grave!
Disciples of Jesus are called to stop the violence,
Stop the murder,
To heal and restore humanity
Such that every life is valued,
And only natural causes lead one home to eternal glory.
Comfort those who mourn in every circumstance.
God blesses, and calls us to open our hearts to those who weep.
Hold the world tenderly in the loving embrace of Jesus.
Dry the tears with assurance of faith,
Spoken in the language of love.
What say you about those who hate you?
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Jesus taught.
Certainly saints who have gone before us have tasted hatred,
Just as we have.
Hatred goes both ways;
Hatred that grows from envy or resentment,
Hatred that festers from discrimination or exclusion,
Hatred that is deeply rooted in our history or original sin.
Christ’s Gospel politic
Is a call for every disciple of Jesus to love enemies,
To do good to those who hate,
To bless those who curse,
To pray for those who abuse.
This is a far different politic than what is espoused by the world today.
The standards for Jesus’ politics
Are set extraordinarily high.
Many would call them naive;
Bless those who call you naïve,
Who hate you,
Who exclude and revile you
And who defame you on account of the Son of Man.
Turn to them, Jesus tells us,
And give them your blessing.
Jesus Christ unites us,
Joining with us,
Together with every Christian
Upon whose shoulders we now stand.
Our inherited gifts are forgiveness of sins
And the salvation of our souls.
Make faith our body politic.
Unlike social politics
Faith in Jesus Christ will never fail you.
Faith in Jesus Christ will always lead to an inner transformation from sinner to saint, to God healing and blessing the world.