Is an old story told to us by Sunday school teachers
Who looked at us with love in their eyes,
Taught us to sing songs of faith, and
Brought us cookies to share
As we colored crayons down to the nub
Is an old story which has come down to us
Through parents and grandparents
who held our hands around the kitchen table
And taught us to pray
And to give God thanks before a meal
Or by the bedside
Is an old story carried in the hearts of all the women and men of faith
Who have come before us throughout all the generations.
Our story is an old story of a new kind of love
In the face of Jesus Christ
we have seen a new kind of love
that the world had never seen before
His is a new kind of Love, that says,
But I say to you who listen, Love your enemies
Do good to those who hate you
Bless those who curse you
Pray for those who abuse you.
This is new!
The old law of the land
Which was well known in his time
Could be summed up with the phrase:
an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth meant:
If I gouge out your eye
As angry you might be
As much as you may want to bring the pain
and take out both of my eyes,
and the eyes of everyone in my family
By law, you could take my eye,
but only my eye, and no more.
Because I only took an eye from you.
And the law said you may only do to another
as they have done to you.
Now, all this talk sounds harsh and gruesome,
but at its inception, it was actually
a law seeking a kind of fairness and compassion,
and an ordinance ensuring things didn’t get too out of hand in the neighborhood.
So, Jesus comes along and says something new…
But something almost as hard to hear:
If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also
If someone takes your coat, give them your shirt.
Give to everyone who begs from you and do not withhold your goods.
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
Jesus is suggesting a very new, very different path
and one we could dismiss as impossible to follow
except for the fact he puts his words into action in his own life.
Because he loved us, when he was arrested,
he allowed himself to be struck on one cheek
and then offered the another as well,
he allowed himself to be stripped of his clothing,
and he gave away everything he had, including his life.
This is a whole new kind of love!
A self-giving, self-emptying love.
This is a love so strong, even death is no match for it.
And because God raised him to new life,
we are given God’s new life and new love.
In the cleansing waters of baptism,
We are given a totally new beginning.
This is God’s totally free gift
And there’s nothing we have to do to earn it!
In fact, you can be an infant.
Unable to talk or reason at all
Much less formulate the words of the apostle’s creed or believe them
But, someone does have to believe for you.
When an infant is brought to receive baptism
The child borrows another person’s faith.
It is most often a parent or grandparent,
but someone brings them
and believes for them
My faith will stand in for this child
And I will teach them to pray
I will teach them the commands of God
The creed of God
The word of God and
The love of God
So… we have received an old story
about a new kind of love,
and our faith and trust in the story is borrowed for a long time.
It’s something old. It’s something new. It’s something borrowed. It’s something blue.
There’s a tradition among some brides
to have with them on their wedding day
something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue.
This past week
confirmation students were invited to create
a personal instagram of their own faith.
The students could paint anything they wanted
to capture the nature of their relationship with God.
Some students painted pictures of crosses,
holy communion, an anchor, a crown of thornes, a fish, a dove, and more.
If we were going to instagram the faith we share in common
one of the great images we could choose would be that of a bride and groom.
As the church, we are the bride
who has a faithful groom in Jesus, who can be counted on.
Who longs for intimacy with us,
who longs to shelter us,
who longs to provide for us, and protect us.
Who says, I love you:
for better for worse,
for rich or poor,
in sickness, in health,
and nothing will ever separate us.
As his bride we have something old – the old story
Something new – the new love of Jesus
Something borrowed – as we live with a borrowed faith until we ready to have faith of our own.
And something blue.
This is where a few more of you are thinking of the Cubs
and your world series win
after a 108 years of waiting.
You just can’t get that beautiful cubbie blue off your mind.
I was thinking more of the blue, which we use as a symbol of baptism.
Its right here:
We look at our Paschal Candle, next to the font.
And we read the names of our newest brothers and sisters in Christ
brought to receive baptism this past year.
And we remember Luther’s teaching that baptism is a daily event for us.
Everyday, we have been baptized into Christ.
Daily we’re invited to die to our self and let him live in and through us.
Each day God delights to wash away our mistakes,
hurts, missed opportunities, and failings.
Each day we are invited to seek out a life
in which we let our light so shine before others
that they may see our good works and give glory to God in heaven.
Each day we are invited to stand with the poor,
the hungry, the weeping, the persecuted.
Each day we are invited to share what we have,
to give of our possessions,
and to suffer with those who suffer
trusting that in the midst of this world’s trouble
we have received a wellspring of mercy from God
who says in Christ, “You are mine
and nothing can take you out of my embrace.”
Today, on All Saints, we have something Old:
We remember and give thanks for the saints of old.
The ones who shared the story with us who are at rest in Christ.
Today, on All Saints, we have something New:
We celebrate the new love of Jesus,
Received by brand-new saints
baptized into Christ this past year,
and given to us as every morning we are made new because of his mercies.
Today, on All Saints, we have something Borrowed:
We give thanks for one another,
knowing that as students and teachers
and sisters and brothers
we have lent faith to one another and borrowed faith from one another
and we are bound together by the one
who was laid in a borrowed tomb but is now living.
And Today, on All Saints Day, we have something Blue.
And you know what it is?
I think today it is an image of those world champion Chicago Cubs
and their beautiful blue hats and jerseys.
On All Saints Sunday,
there may be no better image of what we hope for,
than Wrigley Stadium this past week
covered in the chalk-drawn names of loved ones
who longed to see the cubs as champions
but didn’t live long enough to do it.
This past week as we watched those scenes of celebration,
and saw the diversity of people brought together by a pure ecstatic joy,
it was hard not to be moved.
We as the people of God wait for a celebration to come.
Many who came before us hoped to see the day, but died waiting.
Their names are written on plaques, and gravestones, and in our hearts,
And we remember them as we wait.
And we know that one day
All creation will join in the feast God sets before us.
The poor, the hungry, and the weeping will be there
And their sorrow will be turned to joy.
On All Saints day we look to the cross
and remember his promises to come
And trust that the day of our Lord’s return
will be the happiest of days.