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All Saints Sunday – November 6, 2022
Text:            Matthew 5:1-12
Theme:         You Are the Saints

Throughout Scripture there is something called the Great Reversal.  The prophets of the Old Testament talk about it all the time.  They will talk about some horrible thing that is going on and then they will say, “But on that day….” Then they go one to talk about what it will be like for God’s people on Judgement Day when all the suffering will be reversed and all the evil will be removed and we will live in a sinless world like the Garden of Eden.  But what about now?  What do we do now as we wait for that day to come?  That is what All Saint’s Day celebrates – the now.

When we have a funeral for a loved one, it is not just a day of mourning but also a day of rejoicing. Oh of course we will miss the person who has died.  If a person doesn’t leave a hole in the world when he leaves, that is a sad testimony of his life, but we recognize that he is not gone from us for good, just away for a while.  You and I are a lot like my dog Zeke.  You knew Zeke would make it into the sermons eventually. When it gets to be around 5pm, Zeke goes to the garage door and lies down and waits. He knows that I generally come home sometime after 5pm on most nights.  Sometimes he is surprised when I get home earlier and he comes bounding over the top of the couch to greet me and sometimes he lies in the floor for a long time – like on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday nights when I don’t get home until later.  He misses me but he has every confidence that eventually, I will come through that door. I have not ceased to exist for him. I am just away for a while.

That is how we think of the Saints, those who have died and gone on to paradise ahead of us.  We are excited to see them again on the Judgement Day, and we know that they are already living the life that they were promised in their baptisms.  Are they aware of time where they are? We don’t know, but if they are, we know it is wonderful and joyful for them.

Jesus wants us to know that the Great Reversal has already happened.  He has already died on the cross and paid for all of our sins. He has already suffered Hell and redeemed us from Satan’s clutch.  It is not that we will be saved but that we are saved right now.  That is what he is telling us in the Beatitudes.  It’s not that someday we will become saints, but you and I are the Saints right now.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  We were poor in Spirit before the Lord washed us in baptismal water and fed us with His body and blood and now, we have inherited the Kingdom of Heaven.  Now is the time between the reading of the will and the check from the executor, but we know what is coming to us.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” We have nothing to mourn about anymore. Jesus finished all of our mourning when he said, “It is finished.” Everything we lost has been returned and we are the comforted Saints of God waiting to enter our kingdom.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” We have inherited everything including the new earth that God has promised to create for us on the last day.  This is the very new earth described in Revelation where there is no sadness and no sorrow. The old, dirty, sinful earth is but a shadow of what was and we live in the light of what will be.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” And so have we been satisfied. We are offered a veritable banquet of Word and Sacrament and have no fear of Spiritual hunger ever again.  If we are hungry, it is only because we have refused to eat. The banquet has been set before us!

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” Never think “I ought to be merciful in this situation” as though you have another option. We are merciful because we have received complete mercy. We have no other option just as we pray “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Rather than hold our sins against us, God has paid them off with the life and soul of His Son.  Because God has had mercy on us, we have mercy on each other.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” And so we do every time we receive the body and blood of Christ in our mouths.  You and I are pure in heart right now. How can we be otherwise if Jesus Christ resides within us? Whatever darkness you perceive in your heart or in the hearts of other Christians is nothing but a left-over shadow of the sin that once dwelled there.  It has been conquered on the cross and you are no longer bound to it.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” We have no need to fight and squabble. Why would we?  We have all been given the same gift and we know that God is in control of it all.  We are able to live at peace with one another because nothing is on our shoulders. Jesus took it all on His shoulders and He paid for everything.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Yes, the dark forces will still try to pester us. Satan’s only hope is to try to fake us out, to get us to believe that there is still something we must do. But he is a liar and Jesus has made it completely clear that everything is done and we are only waiting for our inheritance and proclaiming the gifts of God’s love and forgiveness until the day comes for us to receive our full reward.

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” So don’t be surprised that the Saints are hated by those who are not Saints.  We are envied by all who are not part of us.  We are the Princes and Princesses of the Kingdom of God and it was given to us, handed to us on a silver platter.  So, we, as the Saints of God, rejoice and are glad and seek to do whatever we can to help those who revile and persecute us to know the truth, for it is the truth that will set them free from their need to tear us down.  It is our privilege and our joy to look into their eyes and tell them what Jesus has done for them, hoping that the Holy Spirit will give them faith to grasp it. We are the Saints of God and we rejoice in who He has made us.