And I heard a voice from heaven saying, â€œWrite this down: Blessed are those who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, they are blessed indeed, for they will rest from their hard work; for their good deeds follow them!â€Â Â Â Â Â Â Revelation 14:13 (NLT)
All Saint’s Day is a day of remembrance for all those who have faithfully served and have gone on to the reward that Jesus has promised us. The church that I attend has a time during worship to call the names of those in our fellowship who have died this year. You can feel the grief in the room whether it has been a week or 20 years since a loved one has died.
It is this passage from Revelation 14 that comes to my mind when I think of those who have gone from my life. I choose to focus, not on their death, but on their promised life and all that I have learned from them about how to live in the Hope that is Jesus.
All of these lectionary texts reflect God’s promises for what will be in our life with Him. His promises for now are about how He will equip us to make it through the trials and tribulations of this world. Jesus came and lived here 30+ years to show us how to live with the victory in our spirit, not in the circumstances of our lives. He died, made atonement, so that we could have an eternal victory that will be more than we can imagine and last longer than we can comprehend.
This is the Good News that we can share all over the world. Through tsunamis, earthquakes, floods,Â hurricanes, terrorist attacks, criminal acts or no-one-at-fault accident, this world hands out circumstances that are beyond difficult to walk through, much less understand. Children are left as orphans and â€œcollateral damageâ€ becomes an off-hand remark from a media bite. People are left with gaping holes in their hearts; in their spirits. What can bring comfort in these circumstances?
When someone we love dies, it is always too soon. Suppose God, in His great love, said, â€œJody, this person that you love must die before you. I am going to let you choose the day.â€ How could I possibly choose a time? What day or night would be â€œbetterâ€ than another? When would it be less painful? It is a decision much too great for me! I am grateful that God knows better than I do.
Now is the time to read the lectionary passages for this day when I remember the saints. It is in these passages that I hear the extravagant love of God. I hear His promises and know that all will come to pass as He has said. He has kept His promises and He isn’t going to stop keeping them.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world donâ€™t recognize that we are Godâ€™s children because they donâ€™t know him. Dear friends, we are already Godâ€™s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.Â 1 John 3:1-3 (NLT)