Sunday was All Saints Day and we remembered our beloved that have already gone on to glory and are with Jesus in Heaven. We live in the “already/but not yet fully arrived” Kingdom of God on earth. God gave us hope in His Word and the strength to live in faith through the Holy Spirit.
The scripture reading was from Revelation 21:1-6a. Revelation means the “revealing” or the un-covering. Revelation 1:1-2 reads: “This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants the events that must soon take place. He sent an angel to present this revelation to his servant John, who faithfully reported everything he saw. This is his report of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.” Jesus sent these words of comfort to tell those folks to “keep the faith”. They had to be wondering – where is God now?
Jesus gave John a vision of heaven. We call it a glimpse of glory divine. Yes, John got a vision of our future. John was able to take this message and give comfort to those being persecuted a glimpse of what life will look like. He was giving them a heavenly perspective of their earthly troubles. It is a book of hope for you and I today as we all have our own troubles in this life.
This is what Jesus showed John in Chapter 1: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega— the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.
Did you spend some time thinking about “saints” this week? Pastor Cliff said: “For me, they have been those folks who just had a bigger or clearer vision of the Kingdom of God on earth. I have a friend who runs a food bank in Victoria called “Christ’s Kitchen”. Some twenty years ago, they decided not to take any Federal, state, County or City money. You don’t have to “worship” the government to go to a food bank in the United States, but you do have to submit yourself to some questions which can be embarrassing and humiliating. You have to have enough paperwork and pay stubs to “prove” you are indeed poor. So those folks decided to not ask those questions, and that’s why they call it “grace based”. It was free, unmerited, and no questions were asked to eat there. They do, at the right time, help some of these folks escape poverty. But they believed they must first act out of love. God’s grace is a free gift I don’t deserve or earn. That’s how they try and run that food bank. Maybe that meal they eat today, but don’t “deserve”; maybe that’s a seed planted by God that may bear fruit in the future. We don’t know. They just plant the seeds of hope. Saints have that “Kingdom view” it seems. Saints are able to see life differently than the rest of us.
Last time I had to privilege to be at Christ’s Kitchen, they were serving 300 hot meals a day, 6 days a week. And they had programs to help folks with a hand up, a way out of poverty. God was glorified in the place. It is a glimpse of glory divine. All folks were treated like children of God. I felt like a “citizen of heaven” more than a US citizen at the time; praise God for the saints of Victoria”.
Allen Paten described a saint as a person who never doubted that God could use them, no matter their weakness, or troubles. They didn’t have the ‘power’ or ‘ability’ or ‘money’; they just knew to their core that God supplied the grace and the courage and the resources. They seemed to know that they just had to be available to be used by God in the Kingdom. They just “showed up” and God supplied the rest.
The book of Genesis is meant to help us understand our beginning. And the book of Revelation is intended to help us understand our ultimate destination. The hope that Jesus gives us in Revelation is that we will dwell together with God. In Genesis, our ancestors were forbidden to eat from the tree in the midst of the garden. In Revelation, all are invited to partake of the Tree of Life. In Genesis, our ancestors were driven out of the garden; in Revelation, God dwells with us forever. In Revelation, the tree of life is “endlessly fruitful” with leaves that heal all the nations. Paradise Lost will become Paradise regained.
Why do we have “All Saints Day”? It’s a good day to get our heavenly perspective dusted off. It’s a good day to remember those who went before us, those with us now, and those who are on the way. When we see things from a heavenly perspective, it can transform how we view what we “do” today. Every day should be “All Saints Day”. So, I would ask - who was the Saint that God used to invite you into the Kingdom of God on earth? That’s a good thing to remember on All Saints Day. And it is good to remember that you are someone’s saint.
Someday soon, I don’t know when, someone new will show up in your pew. And you can say: “Welcome, we’ve been waiting on you. We’re glad you’re here. How can I help you?” And someday, when we all get to Heaven; what a glorious day that will be. Until then, I pray that the words of my mouth and the actions of my hands and feet, are acceptable in the sight of my Lord and my savior and my redeemer. Grace and peace to all.
Be sure to pick up your “Shoeboxes for God’s children in Mexico”. They need to be completed by Dec. 15th.
Remember Belinda Donop’s birthday on November 5th.
The UMW Bazaar Fundraiser is this Saturday, Nov. 9th from 9 am until noon on the north side of the square in front of David Young’s Office. This is a fundraiser for missions. Women, bring your crafts and goodies. Please come by and support the UMW. Call Joyce Mutschink at 347-The UMW meeting is Tuesday, Nov. 12th at the Art Fellowship Hall at 2:30 p.m.
Choir practice for the Christmas program is each Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. until they sing on the 15th.
Next Sunday, the 10th, sign up to bring Thanksgiving turkey side dishes. Call Tyra at 347-5217 for details.
BUILD THE RAMP. Pray for the ramp.
KAIROS Prison Ministry Update For those who repent and receive Jesus as their savior, they are encouraged to take responsibility for their life choices and their relations with God. Pastor Cliff will be doing God’s work from Monday thru Friday. Thanks to all who made cookies. Kairos inmates begin to replace old ways of thinking with new and they learn they are not alone on this journey. The Kingdom of God on earth becomes real and present to our incarcerated brothers and sisters, and their families in the free world.