Pastor’s Paragraph for November 3, 2019

Pastor's Paragraph for November 3, 2019

NOVEMBER 3, 2019

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On the first Sunday in November we observe All Saints’ Sunday. I say observe because it’s difficult to say “celebrate” about a day when we remember those who have walked among us, but whom we see no more. Their passing reminds us of our own mortality and the personal grief we carry with us always. It seems inappropriate to wish each other a “happy” All Saints’ Day.

I was reminded one year during Advent in a quite stark way that I am always grieving. I was in a worship service, and the preacher that day was doing a marvelous and creative job with the text. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but it struck that nerve within me where resides the death of my paternal grandmother. It had been years since my grandmother’s death, but my childhood had been filled with her presence. By the preacher’s words that day I was made to recall that my adulthood was now as bereft of her as my childhood had been filled with her, and I wept.

The thing is, when we observe All Saints’ Sunday, we observe the reality of our grief, but we also declare that we do not grieve as the world grieves. We are reminded that Jesus, too, wept in grief. When confronted with the broken hearts of Mary and Martha at the death of their brother, Lazarus, Jesus broke down and cried. We have a God who in Christ grieves and weeps with us. But, if that was our only comfort in the face of death it would be cold comfort. We observe our grief, but we declare that the God who weeps with us is also the God of resurrection.

 God, in Christ, accompanies us toward the grave, weeps with us, and expresses anger at death. His words to Martha at the graveside of her brother are words not only of comfort, but of hope: “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).

Perhaps we can wish each other “happy” All Saints’ Day after all. 

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Rev. Dr. Brand Eaton

Pastor of Visitation