All Saints

marriageOur story

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

 

Our story

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

 

Our story

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

and says,

 

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.