Sermon for All Saints’ Day – 11.5.23

+ All Saints’ Day (observed) – November 5th, 2023 +

Rev. 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Beautiful Savior Lutheran 

Milton, WA

“A Certain Hope”

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. 

In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul writes…we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.

In the musical world they call this a mashup. Two seemingly different songs put together to create a new song. Paul’s words give us an All Saints’ Day mashup. There is grief, and hope. There is sadness, and joy in Christ’s salvation. There are tears, and the presence of Christ who promises to wipe away all tears.

Today is a collision of sorts. We remember our brothers and sisters in Christ who have died in the faith, whether it was last week, last month, last year or the years before that. To be sure, there is grief. The memory of departed friends, family, and dear brothers or sisters in Christ. The poignant hymn that floods our eyes with tears. The sting of death. But that is not all there is on All Saints’ Day. Today our Lord gives us good news in our grief… Those who have died in the faith are safe in the presence of Jesus, just as you are.

You are all the blessed ones of the beatitudes – not because we have any righteousness of our own or any leg to stand on – but because of Christ’s righteousness that covers all our sin. That is what it means to be poor of spirit – to see that any righteousness and goodness and holiness isn’t found in us, but in Christ for you. Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called children of God; and so you are.

All Saints’ Day is a day where we rejoice that God has given us a new song to sing, a holy mashup of his mercy and grace…out of sorrow, he works joy. Out of death he brings life. In our grief he gives us hope. Out of sinners he makes saints, holy ones. You. Me. And all the faithful departed we remember today.

All saints those who have gone before us and await the resurrection of the body, and all of us here – the saints on earth – we are not self-made saints. You are a saint through the sacrifice of Christ. Saints is really just another word for sinners forgiven by Jesus.

That is one why our Lord brings us here Sunday after Sunday…because here God gives us something we cannot and will not find in the world around us nor within us. In this life there is no shortage of grief, guilt, shame, sorrow, despair, and death. Grief seems to follow us around like a hound hot on the scent. We grieve a world that appears inching towards war. We grieve relationships that are strained or broken. We grieve our failing bodies and minds. We grieve our own guilt and shame over what we’ve done or left undone. Said or left unsaid. In this life, grief and guilt and sorrow and shame are easy to come by. Hope is hard to find. 

The good news of All Saints’ Day is not that you find hope, but that hope finds you. Christ comes to rescue. Christ answers our grief with hope. 

And this is not the kind of hope we usually think of…not like a child standing by the window, “I hope tomorrow is a snow day.” No. Christian hope is different. Not a wish. Not a maybe. Not a possibility. When Christ the friend of sinners comes he brings hope that is sure. Certain. Dependable. Reliable. You can count on him. Christ is faithful. 

Your hope rests not on you or what you’ve done. But on Christ and what he has done for you. Hope rests in Christ crucified and risen for you. Hope is anchored in the wounds and words of Jesus. Hope – like holiness – is Christ’s gift to you. Whatever sorrow, whatever sadness, whatever grief we bear…the Lamb is on the throne for you. Despite what we see, think, feel and all that our eyes see around us you are a saint, you are one of God’s holy ones; you belong to Jesus and are given hope in him.

This is what John saw in Revelation 7…

one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”  I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

 “Therefore they are before the throne of God,
    and serve him day and night in his temple;
    and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

For you who are in Christ, for the dead who are in Christ, death is but a sleep. A rest. Tis but a scratch! In the words of the great Johnny Cash hymn…there ain’t no grave can hold my body down. For the Lamb, our Lord Jesus, died and rose on the third day is your shepherd, just as he is the shepherd of all those who have died in faith in Jesus. Our Lord, the Lamb, has brought you to springs of living water, he has restored your soul and one day in the resurrection of the dead, he will restore both body and soul together again. The Lamb, Christ Jesus, gives you hope today on All Saints’ Day, and every day until he calls us home or returns again in glory, that he will wipe away every tear from your eyes. 

Today, and every day, you are all saints, forgiven and redeemed by the blood of Jesus.

A blessed All Saints’ Day to each of you…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977