Advent and Christmas at St. Mark's

The Company of All the Saints

by The Rev Beth Knowlton on November 03, 2021

Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, "Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me." When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out!" The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go.”   — John 11:32 - 44 
This Sunday we will gather for the Feast of All Saints. It is a time to read the names of those we have lost in the past year in holy act of remembrance. We will also baptize new members and gather our pledges for the coming year in thanksgiving for this community. We stop and remember who we are, why that matters, and our participation in that great cloud of witnesses—the communion of saints. 

As people of faith, we have a distinct advantage. Despite the difficulties and uncertainties of time, we know that our primary calling and nature is to worship. The Risen One, Jesus Christ, will not allow us to forget that when we have come through the great ordeal we can only be called to worship and praise. Every tear is wiped away from our eyes and all divisions cease as we sing to the Lamb. When we see the reality of that kingdom, where nothing can separate us from the love of God, we can take heart that in separation there is
possibility and we are called to be repairers of the breach. 

That is not just a separating of individuals but a calling for our own work and healing as well. Those parts of ourselves that we most fear irredeemable have already found their place in God’s embrace. The more we live in that knowledge, the more compassionate and loving we can be with others. Those we easily agree with and those we can only approach with bewilderment. The more we can hear Jesus asking us to be unbound like Lazarus. 

Saints after all are witnesses. They are not uniquely perfect. They are however particularly aware of their status as beloved children of God. That only encourages their sense of humility, because they see how broad the company of those who are loved by God is. When we know ourselves as deeply connected to God we start to see with different eyes. We count all as blessed and all we experience all moments as blessing. Not because it is all easy. But because it is all part of our life in God. 

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