Sunday Reflection: Today many churches will celebrate the feast of All Saints’ Day, when we remember the lives, work and ministry of all of the saints of the Christian faith. In many congregations, parishioners will also observe the feast of All Souls’ Day or All the Faithful Departed, by reading the names of those who have died who are not recognized as saints by the church, but are saints in the lives of those who knew and loved them.
The tradition of remembering the saints began in the early fourth century as a way to lift up the example of the lives of the saints for the support, encouragement and emulation of believers. For those of us gathered together in worship today, All Saints’ Day is a reminder of the great cloud of witnesses encouraging us to follow the teachings and example of the Jesus of the gospels in our daily lives.
John 11:32-44. Jesus is moved to tears. In a display of his full humanity, Jesus grieves the loss of his friend, Lazarus. To make matters worse, in the middle of his grief, Jesus is flooded with questions, perhaps accusations, that he could have saved Lazarus. That has to hurt. Jesus proceeds, still deeply grieved, to resurrect Lazarus and in so doing renews the faith of Mary, Martha, and the other members of the crowd. The passage is especially pertinent at the celebration of All Saints’ not because it deals with death, but because it is a passage that epitomizes eternal life, the promise that God has made through Christ to each of us. Jesus says, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” The faith of Jesus’ followers was rewarded in this miraculous event. We may never have seen anyone raised from the dead, but there are other ways that we experience the glory of God: a child’s birth and baptism, the unconditional love of our families, friends, and neighbors, and most of all, through participation in the Eucharist.
- When has God’s glory been revealed to you? Was it a large “aha” moment or a still, small whisper in the night?
- How is God’s glory manifested in the remembrance of the lives of the saints? How do you know?
Collect: Almighty God, whose people are knit together in one holy Church, the mystical Body of your Son, grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you; through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
“Living in the Edge”: 2018 Advent Resource – is a series of daily reflections for individuals and weekly gatherings for small groups. Reflection and facilitation guides for small groups will be provided. You can sign up for daily in-box delivery for FREE. You can also register to receive a printable pdf booklet with the daily reflections (for your personal use) and small group gatherings. The booklet is free for individual use.
This Advent Resource is now available online. Please visit http://www.vancouver.anglican.ca/diocesan-resources /2018-advent-resource.
The Order of the Diocese of New Westminster (ODNW): Congratulations to Donna White on your acceptance into the ODNW! You have made a great contribution to the life and ministry of St. Michael’s Anglican Church. Your faithful service to the missionary work in developing our parish congregation shows your wisdom and foresight. I know you will continue to work hard in the many years ahead, and even harder to inspire us into the work God has entrusted to you. May you continue to find joy and satisfaction in your ministry.
Remembrance Sunday: Next Sunday, our worship services will focus on Remembrance Day. As most of you are aware of, it is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth of Nations member states since the end of the First World War to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty.
I encourage everyone in the parish to invite your families and friends as we pray to God and give honour to all who have fallen.