Friday, November 04 2022
Then Jesus 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” (Luke 6:20-21).
“Jesus had a soft spot for the poor. It might be fair to say, he preferred the poor. Poverty exists everywhere, you needn’t go to a “developing nation” to find it. It’s down your block. Don’t think so? You’re likely not looking hard enough. Here, Jesus challenges us to look. Because he tells the poor, the hungry, I see you, and yours is coming. Our calling as Christians is to live life generously. And not for our own desires, or those of our immediate circle, but for those on the fringes. Think of the good that could grow if we died to self a little more, and wholeheartedly embraced the work that Jesus has given us to do. Do you see the Holy Spirit in the faces of the poor?” (Sam Messer, More Than Enough)
Today is All Saints Sunday when we join with saints and all the company of heaven. The Celts would call this Sunday a thin place when the temporal and eternal are very close. The faithful gather together to remember those whom we love, but see no longer. We especially remember those who touched our hearts and touched the hearts of others with the love of God. When we play “For all the Saints” I always get very sentimental for Janet, Joyce, Wally, Ruth, Ginny, Ida, Bob, Frank, Clara, Don, Bev, Bruce, Mildred, and a whole host of others. Some of you go back to the generation before that in this church. We have this beautiful church and all our ministries and traditions because they gave themselves to Christ when they were here. I invite you to light a candle in their honor after you have communion today. There is no doubt that many saints have walked through the doors at St. John’s. We remember them in our prayers and through the life and ministry that we live. Many of the programs that we support have been going on for decades. I believe that our loved ones look down at us with a smile when we are a blessing to others. We also thank the saints of the Christian Church – women and men whose witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ has been a blessing in every generation. We celebrate all who have been baptized in this church with the mark of the promised Holy Spirit and all those who have served here. We celebrate all their lives and their generosity that allows our generation to praise and worship our Lord in this beautiful church. Mother Teresa said that we all can’t do great things, but we can do small things with great love. Our ordinary acts of love bring the Kingdom of Heaven closer to Earth. St Paul tells us in Hebrews 12:1 that we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. Saints are faithful men and women who have lived their lives for the sake of others. Paul asks us to persevere, so that after we have done God's will, we will receive what God has promised.
Today is Loyalty Sunday. Our vestry asks you to do your part by filling out a pledge card and sending it to the office or place it in the plate on Sunday. Give of your time, talent and treasure to God because you truly believe that Christ died that you might have abundant life. When a heart is filled with the love of God, the desire to give a portion back comes from deep within, not from a rational sense of obligation. We use the gifts that God has given us to do the work God is calling us to do. God will never ask you to do anything unless God provides the means for you to do it. Give from your heart and St. John’s will serve this community with generosity as we have for the past 277 years. Please give joyfully and graciously from your heart. God is well pleased when we give in this manner and will provide everything we need to do the work that God calls us to do.
In Christ’s love,
Rev. Duncan Burns