Readings – Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10,22; I John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
Tuesday is Election Day here in Central Pennsylvania. I expect all of us will cast votes, maybe some already have through mail in voting. We will be voting for township officials, county officials, district attorneys, judges. Not too long ago we called all those running for office, public servants. They were to be elected to serve the people, not for fame or fortune, but for service. Public Servants.
Not too long ago we called our firefighters, police, teachers, and medical personal, Civil Servants. They were to keep us safe from harm, healthy and educated. Civil Servants.
Today we celebrate All Saints. Our opening collect was:
Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord…
We have been elected; we have been chosen by God to serve. Everyone of us here today, elected by God to serve. That is why you received a cut out figure when you were greeted in the hallway and asked to put your name on it. During coffee hour with a piece of blue painters tape you are invited to place your figure above the chair molding in the center hallway. Make sure it is connected to another figure beside it. We are connected, we are “knit together” to serve as the People of God here in Central Pennsylvania.
But there is more! During coffee hour I invite you to put names on additional figures, and they are to be placed below the chair rail. These are the people who have supported you in your servanthood, in your service. Feel free to place as many additional figures as you can recall. You may take some home with you to bring back next week, or make some additional figures at home to bring in and post on the wall. Let’s fill it up for I am sure that we all stand on the shoulders of many who came before us. We are but a small part of the elect, of the chosen, that God has invited to be servants, to be saints. Hear the transition? Those who say “yes” to God’s invitation, those are the saints of God. We are the saints of God.
When our stained-glass windows come back restored, there will be no faces or figures. I wonder if Mary Kittera Snyder purposely selected stained glass of earth on the bottom and sky on the top with a golden glorious light dominating the center so that we could look upon each other as the saints of God, so that we could see in each other’s faces the glow of glory, the glow of the light of God. I wonder!
Our gospel reading this morning paints the picture of the servants of God, the saints of God.
…Jesus saw the crowds…went up the mountain… sat down…and taught them.
Before him on the mountain Jesus saw the servants of God, the saints of God. He knew some were “poor in spirit”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “mourning”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “meek”, and blessed by God. He knew some were hungry and thirsted after righteousness, and blessed by God. He knew some were “merciful”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “pure in heart”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “peacemakers”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “persecuted”, and blessed by God. He knew some were “reviled”, and blessed by God.
The people Jesus viewed that day as he sat on the mountain side were people just like us, struggling with serving in the midst of a rough and tumble world. Jesus looked out on the crowd, and now he looks out on us, and he proclaims – You are blessed by God.
We, here today, we are those elected to serve as the saints of God despite all of our struggles, despite all of our shortcomings, despite all of our failures. And we are blessed by God.
We are the current day saints. We are!
As Jesus said on the mountain side to the crowd, he says again to us today:
Rejoice and be glad.
Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in heaven.