Sunday, 8 November 2015

All Saints (Sunday 1st November)

Isaiah 25.6-9, Psalms 24.1-6, Revelation 21.1-6a, John 11.32-44

The stories of the saints make it clear that we are not talking about a set of perfect people, but about ordinary people who are remembered for the way in which they lived their Christian lives.

The point of being a Christian is to become Christ-like by inviting God into our lives and allowing God to work on us. God is, as the liturgy reminds us, both the source and the final purpose of our lives: our spring-board and our destination, however distant. The gift of being a Christian is that we are accompanied on life's journey by Christ himself, however inconspicuous. The saints are people who have lived with that purpose and that faith, and we belong with them.

Today's readings remind us that, in our final destination, every tear will be wiped dry. Isaiah even fills in a couple of details of the menu at the grand celebration. The gospel reading, however, gives us a paradoxical glimpse of the way to the kingdom. The resurrection, he says, is about more than a general raising of the dead at the end of the world. He then demonstrates the point by what must have been a very temporary resurrection of Lazarus. Tears are wiped away, only to return later,my it the real focus of the story is in a few words of protest from Martha, implying that Lazarus is too far gone for Jesus' attention to do any good.

What aspects of our lives or our worlds seem 'too far gone'? To be beyond hope of any sort of redemption? The message of today's celebration is that they, too, belong among the saints.

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