Trinity United Church
November 1, 2020 – All Saints’ Day
Anjanee Gyan-Dyck. LLWL
Revelation 7:9-17 They will hunger no more and thirst no more. Psalm 34:1-10, 22 Taste and see that God is good.1 John 3:1-3 What we will be has not yet been revealed. Matthew 5:1-12 The Beatitudes.
Hymn: VU 705 “For all the saints.”
Holy and Almighty Father and Mother, we call you to lift us up when we fail to recognize you right within us. Your abiding presence is a balm to soothe our heart and guide us through these troubled times. Help us to know that in our limitations is your transforming strength. Into the stillness of your Holy Spirit, purify our soul so that all our actions be good and all our service to this world be done in love. AMEN
Reflection: Becoming Saints Today
Today, November 1. 2020 is All Saints’ Day. It is customary to celebrate the saints of the past, those in the present and with God’s help those in the future. I believe that with God all things are possible. He was always present in the lives of the many saints of the past. Perhaps, as ordinary folks, we can learn from the saints what may seem impossible for us to do.
We know the names of a few of them like St. Francis, St. Augustine and St. Stephen and the woman saint, Hildegard von Bingen. It is good to know a bit about them. We are regular people but we can learn from their lives. St. Francis was born in Italy in 1181; St Augustine was born in Algeria, Africa in 354 AD; St. Stephen was born in 5 AD probably in Greece; and Hildergard von Bingen was born in 1098 in Germany.
They all have one thing in common – they followed the voice of God, practiced it and in some cases died in doing so. You will remember how St. Stephen was stoned to death for spreading the knowledge of Christ. St. Augustine was a powerful preacher and prolific writer who laid the foundation for Christian thought. St. Francis of Assisi lived a life of luxury, drinking and partying until he heard the voice of God to rebuild the Christian church. He had a vision of God from which he received the stigmata (wounds) of the crucified Christ.
Hildegard von Bingen was born in an ordinary home. From three years of age and onward she began having visions of God. She saw God’s light and within this mystery, she received knowledge of music and science and the building of a monastery. She became the abbess. After a very long time, the Roman Catholic church finally recognized her as a saint.
You may wonder what chance it is for any one of us to ever become a saint. Take heart. The saints were all God’s children and so are we. Day and night we too are persecuted by the stones of materialness in this world. The Almighty God does not expect us to be perfect. If we were, we would already be in heaven but here we are on earth, to just be and become. The readings today describe the qualities saints exemplify. But for us, ordinary folks, the four readings powerfully teach us how to take heart.
Revelations 7:9-17 illustrates people of all races in front of the throne of God. They are there because of suffering terrible persecution for the sake of Christ. We too are living in a time of global tribulation that calls for being rich in spirit that will strengthen our heart and wipe away our tears.
Psalm 34: 1-10, 22 states the need to connect to God, the Supreme Being and pray to him. It is he alone who answers us and protects us. We can do this simple act just as the saints have done.
The powerful reading of 1John 3:1-3 reminds us to love God as a child does to a parent, for when we do we develop a pure heart. This one can take a lot of practice.
The reading of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12 is inspirational for our everyday living but remember, that God does not expect us to be perfect. At least, we can try to be perfect by practicing at least one of them.
The one that I believe that encompasses a few of the other Beatitudes is this: Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
I like this one because many times Jesus referred to the Kingdom of Heaven that is within. Our heart is the mysterious dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. God is not too far from us. He is right within us. How is it possible to have a clean and pure heart ?
Do you remember the time in elementary school when we used the one -nib dipping pen then came the fountain pen? My fountain pen had an inside tube that you filled with liquid ink. Sometimes I would rinse my tube holder with clean water. I liked squeezing one drop of ink in the clean water and seeing how it slowly spread in different patterns until the glass of water became totally dark.
When we have a blot of hate, anger, enmity, or selfishness in our heart, it spreads to our mind and thoughts and even affects our body then travels out to the environment and affecting other people.
Our poor heart then has to become pure. First, it has to be cleansed by prayer. Second, it has to be healed by connecting to the Holy One, the Christ within. Third, it has to become whole by always being in the presence of God. When we connect to God’s presence within us, it positively affects all our thoughts and actions on this earth. It is here that we meet God spirit-to-Spirit and it is in this Fellowship with God’s Presence that we truly are His children.
We become like the saints, not perfect or even superheroes, but His ordinary and dear children. We become almost like saints. We do not have to make a show of how spiritual we may be, we are simply serving the Eternal God of this universe. We live as His child and servant or saint, incognito but pure in heart and strong in spirit.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Loving Mother and Gracious Father, our times are in your hands, our lives are shaped by your design from before our birth.
Like a wise Mother, your limitless love permeates the whole of creation and us. My heart cannot praise you enough. May my mind rest in Thee, intent on the highest good and bless us all to be aware of your Divine Presence. Divine One, keep us in your protection from all evil and accept our love and praise to you.