Wednesday, November 3, 2010

All Saints Sunday - 2010

Wednesday after All Saints’ Day
November 3, 2010

The Lord be with you

This past Monday was All Saints’ Day (November 1). In Lutheran Churches (and to my knowledge we are the only ones that do this) we celebrate this feast on the first Sunday following November 1 (assuming November 1 is not a Sunday). At Lamb of God this is what we will do.

All Saints’ Day is the most comprehensive of the days of commemoration, encompassing the entire scope of that great cloud of witnesses with which we are surrounded (Hebrews 12:1). It holds before the eyes of faith that great multitude which no man can number: all the saints of God in Christ—from every nation, race, culture, and language—who have come “out of the great tribulation … who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9, 14). As such, it sets before us the full height and depth and breadth and length of our dear Lord’s gracious salvation (Ephesians 3:17-19). It shares with Easter a celebration of the resurrection, since all those who have died in Christ Jesus have also been raised with Him (Romans 6:3-8). It shares with Pentecost a celebration of the ingathering of the entire Universal Church—in heaven and on earth, in all times and places—in the one Body of Christ, in the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Just as we have all been called to the one hope that belongs to our “one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). And the Feast of All Saints shares with the final Sundays of the Church Year an eschatological focus on the life everlasting and a confession that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). In all of these emphases, the purpose of this feast is to fix our eyes upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, that we might not grow weary or fainthearted (Hebrews 12:2-3). (Treasury of Daily Prayer, Concordia Publish House)

A common practice in churches for this feast is to read the names of those who have died and gone to be with the Lord during the worship service. In large churches only the names of those who have died in the last year are remembered. This is due to time restraints. In a small church like Lamb of God we can, and do, open this list up to any whom the congregation wishes to remember.

We will have a special liturgy for our worship Sunday. Because we are remembering those who have joined the Church Triumphant, our liturgy will be drawn largely from a traditional liturgical funeral service. This will give us a chance to consider the meaning of these services during a less emotional time, helping us to understand the comfort and focus of such services. Several features of our regular Sunday morning service will be absent because they are not part of our funeral services. Most noticeable of these will be the absence of a time for confession of sins and absolution.

The hymns for Sunday will be “For All The Saints” (LSB 677), “I Know That My Redeemer Lives” (LSB 461), and “Lift High the Cross” (LSB 837). Each of these hymns are common selections at funerals. The appointed lessons are Revelation 7:9-17, 1 John 3:1-3, and Matthew 5:1-12. The sermon is based on the reading from Revelation and is titled “Who Are The Saints?” The Introit is the one appointed for All Saints’ Day. Our prayers will be based on the ones commonly offered during a funeral.

The following video is of a church singing For All the Saints in a processional.

The adult Sunday school class will continue with part 2 of our study titled “Flesh, Spirit, and Sanctification.” It is part of our series Puzzlers and Questions About the Bible, which is simply Bible studies based on questions submitted my members and friends of Lamb of God.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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