For All the Saints Who from Their Labors Rest, Thy Name, O Jesus, Be Forever Blessed

All Saints Sunday, November 6, 2022 —

Observing “All Saints Day” is an ancient church custom—a good one, especially if we remember what the Biblical definition of “saint” is. The word saint comes from the Latin word “Sanctus” which means holy, set apart. In our catechism, we use the word “sanctification” as a heading for the whole 3rd article of the creed. In the explanation to the 3rd article Luther wrote (and we memorized) “The Holy Spirit has called me by the gospel, enlightened me with his gifts, sanctified and kept me in the true faith.” Saints are those who have been brought to faith in Jesus, declared righteous for Jesus’ sake, and now live their lives for Jesus.

On All Saints, of course, we emphasize those believers who have already gone on to their eternal reward and the joy they now live in as they await, together with us, the great Day of Resurrection when their souls return with Jesus to be reunited with their glorified bodies.

The Gospel Lesson for All Saints’ Day is the “Beatitudes” which promise the blessings God pours out on His believers here and in eternity as they faithfully live for Him, enduring whatever hardships that may entail.

Our Old Epistle Lesson is part of the great “Hall of Faith” chapter of the Bible, Hebrews 11. After listing many who remained steadfast in faith while enduring hardships in this life and now enjoy rest while awaiting “the New Heaven and New Earth,” the author writes: “All of these were commended in Scripture by faith, yet they did not receive what was promised, because God had planned something better for us, namely, that they would not reach the goal apart from us.” In other words, they await, in perfect bliss—the final consummation of Joy.

The joy they and we await is described in our First Lesson, from Revelation where St. John was given to write: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, because the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. And the sea no longer existed. 2And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And from the throne I heard a loud voice that said, “Look! God’s dwelling is with people. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. 4He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain, because the former things have passed away.”

We’ll focus especially on the Lesson from Revelation in our sermon this Sunday so close to Veterans Day: “The Hope of Christian Veterans.”

This Week’s Lessons:

Revelation 21:1–6  (sermon text)

Hebrews 11:32–40

Luke 6:20–23

Psalm 149