Sunday, November 3, 2019
All Saints Sunday, Year C
Baptism of Destiny and Cameron
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one communion in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Readings and Psalm
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18 The holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom
Ephesians 1:11-23 God raised Christ from the dead and made him head over all the church
Luke 6:20-31 Jesus speaks blessings and woes
Title: Washed into Sainthood
Destiny and Cameron. It is so good to celebrate your baptisms today. The rest of us are birthday party kind of happy to see this happen for you. You know what birthday party happy means right? You know, when you go to your best friend’s birthday party, and you see them so happy, as they have the cake of their dreams, and they get all kinds of great presents, all their friends are there to laugh and play the day away. Well, that is what we are for you. Birthday party happy. Because today is sort of a new birthday for you and you both are getting a most amazing present. In fact, if we could totally understand this present that you are getting, you might agree with me that this is the best present you will ever get. Yes, ever. In your whole life. And I’m including every birthday present, every Christmas gift, graduation and anything else you’ll get a present for. This is the best. And if it doesn’t feel like it or look like it now, well, that’s why I said, IF we could totally understand everything about this gift. But we can’t. It is a mystery. Something we just can’t fully explain or understand. But let’s see if we can open up this gift a little bit, take a peak inside to at least understand it a little bit. And then you will have the rest of your life to grow in learning more and more about this great gift that we call by that fancy word baptism.
To help us, I’m going to feature three more everyday words – bath, book, and blessing.
Do you like to take a bath? Do you still take baths, or have you moved on to showers? Think about the best baths you’ve ever taken. When I was little, we used to like to use Mr. Bubble in our baths. Do they still have Mr. Bubble? How much fun we had making as many bubbles as possible. Then of course there are those toys that you can play with in the bathtub – boats and buckets, sponge animals and squirting things. But, of course, the most important part of taking a bath is to come out nice and clean. Sometimes, when you’re really dirty, you come out feeling brand new. Well, there are no bubbles here and no toys, and there isn’t a lot of water, but I want you to think about this gift we call baptism, this gift that you are receiving today; I want you to think about it as a bath. And you come out of it a new person. In fact, you’re such a new person, that you come out of it with a new title, a new name in sense. And that new title is: Child of God. And as we heard in the second reading, being a child of God means we receive an inheritance from God. That means God gives to you from all that God has.
In this bath, God is saying that you are so loved by God, that you are being included in a new family – God’s family. It doesn’t take you out of the family that you have and who loves you. No, this bath is just bringing you into an extra family. A really big family. God’s family is so big that you will never meet everyone in it. The people here today are part of God’s family. There are people all around the world who are part of God’s family. There are people who lived a long time ago and are no longer in this world – and they are part of God’s family. In fact, today is the day each year, that we remember that we are all a part of God’s family.
And we especially remember the people who are no longer with us and who we miss. It’s called All Saints Sunday because when you receive this bath, you are not only called Child of God, you are also called a Saint. Yup, that’s right. You are about to become a saint. Now some people will tell you that saints are very special and holy people, and you have to do some pretty amazing things to be called a saint. But we understand it a little differently than those people. And we say that every baptized child of God (which you are about to become), is a saint. But we still struggle to do the things that God wants us to do as his children, we don’t always do them, and so we say we are both saint and sinner at the same time. But that’s something your moms can explain to you more as you grow up. So, come and take a bath, and become a child of God.
Another word I said we would use and talk about is book. Do you like to read books? When reading a book, do you ever sneak a peak at the ending to see what happens because you can’t wait to find out? Well, today, in this bath, God is giving you a sneak peak at the end of the story. And in fact, the really good news is that there is no end to the story. No matter what happens to us. No matter where we may go. God is always with us. And we are always with God. So, all those people that we are remembering today, who are no longer with us and who we miss. We know that they are with God forever. And while we are sad to miss them, since they are with God, we know that one day we will be with them again. Sometimes it’s good to know the end of the story before you get to it. (But when reading a book, wait to get there.)
Do you remember the third word I said we would talk about? Blessed. In the third reading that we heard this morning. The one we call the gospel because it tells us the good news that we learn from Jesus. Jesus said blessed are the poor and the hungry and the sad, and the bullied. And we hear that and say, wait a minute, if being blessed means good things, how can those people, the poor, hungry, and sad, the bullied, be blessed? Because none of that is good. Not only that, but Jesus says the rich, and the ones who have all the food, and the popular and powerful ones, are not blessed. They sure look blessed to everyone else. Well, this is another great thing about this gift that you are receiving today. Even when things are not going so well. When people are being mean. When you are not feeling that God is with you and you are not sure whether God loves you. Even in the worst moments of life, Jesus tells us that we are still children of God, that we are still blessed with all that God gives us in this gift of baptism. It’s sort of like air. You can’t see it. You may not always think about it. But it is certainly there. And if you keep breathing, you’ll receive what you need and you’ll keep living.
Destiny and Cameron – today is just a beginning. It is my prayer, and those who are in this family with you, that as you take a bath and become a child of God, as you get a sneak peek at the end of the story so that you live with hope, we want only the best for you and we want you to grow in understanding just how blessed you are because God is always with you. God is always with us. We are all cherished children of God, also known as saints, through Jesus who leads us, and the Holy Spirit who gives us life, new life, eternal life. How blessed are we.
The Rev. Mark Erson,