Thursday, November 4, 2010

Glimpsing Heaven: All Saints Luke 6:20-31

Minnesota Lutherans start November with a weekend set aside in church for remembering. Many of our churches send out invitations to families who have lost loved ones to come and join us worshipping God and giving thanks. We have rituals naming aloud all those who we have laid to rest over the past year.

We give thanks to God in song. Candles might be lit or roses might be placed on the altar in rememberence of those who have gone on before us in faith. This coming weekend is our time to remember the all the saints who have walked in the light of Christ. We remember those who are with us on this earth and all who are in Christ's light long after their remains have been returned to the earth.

In the church I grew up in 1 day, November 1 was set aside for remembering all the saints and a second day was set aside for remembering all souls. Today we celebrate in 1 day reflecting on the full promise of the resurrection for all who trust in Christ.

As we remember this year we'll listen to words from Jesus' Sermon on the plain in Luke 6:20-31. It's a sermon about a world turned over in which eternity matters more than the passing things of this earth. It's a sermon that Jesus preached to a crowd who wanted to be near him. Luke writes describing the crowd,

Jesus and the apostles came down from the mountain, and he stood on level ground. A large group of his followers was there, as well as many people from all around Judea, Jerusalem, and the seacoast cities of Tyre and Sidon. 18 They all came to hear Jesus teach and to be healed of their sicknesses, and he healed those who were troubled by evil spirits. 19 All the people were trying to touch Jesus, because power was coming from him and healing them all. New Century Version Luke 6:17-19.
The crowd came to touch a little bit of heaven in the person of Jesus and he told them of the new world in which things would be turned upside down. He told them of the world in which the

  • poor
  • hungry
  • weeping
  • detested
of today would be happy/blessed by God.

In 2008 I wrote about one phrase that's repeated over and over in this sermon and in the sermon on the mount in Matthew: μακάριοι οἱ often translated blessed are those or happy are those. This one word μακάριοι is repeated over and over, blessed or happy. The popular definition of happiness or blessing that grows out of material wealth doesn't fit these very real life circumstance that Jesus' followers face every day but it makes sense when we see things as Jesus turn overturned for the better.

Jesus shared news of the sorrows that await those who are too comforable in this world. He warned
  • the rich
  • self-satisfied
  • those carelessly laughing
  • those beloved by people.
The crowd came to touch heaven and Jesus spoke to them of the great reversal that he came to inniate both now and in the world to come.

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