Wisdom of Solomon 3:1-9 or Isaiah 25:6-9
Gospel hymn #560: Matthew 5:1-12 (The Beatitudes)
All Saints' Day November 1, 2006
All Saints' Sunday November 5, 2006
Trinity Cathedral, Sacramento
In the name of God, source of all being, eternal Word, and Holy Spirit. Amen.
The only tragedy, in the end, is the tragedy of not becoming a saint.
Originally All Saints was a remembrance of, and a communion with, Christians martyred under the pagan kings. Over the years its meaning has expanded, and we remember all saints. What is a saint?
• A witness to the resurrected Christ.
• An example of a godly life.
• A believer.
• An intercessor, an absent friend whom we can ask to pray for us.
• Someone who reminds us that there is another dimension to reality.
A mother of teenagers recently remarked that her son lives much of his life in Flatland. That is, he spends an inordinate amount of time on the computer, the iPod, the PDA, emailing and IM'ing his friends. Most of the conversations consist of, "I'm so bored...." He is living an existence that seems to be lacking a dimension. And so, without grace, are we.
Into the plane of Flatland, the revelation of God in Christ arrives precipitously from above, revealing the existence of a vertical dimension. This forms a crossroads, a thin place, in which the reality of heaven breaks into our one-dimensional, spirit-impoverished Flatland.
Thin places are places where heaven and earth come close together. You might think of a place like Iona, or Lindisfarne, soaked in centuries of prayer. Or you might think of a saint's shrine.
Saints are people who recall us to the divine. They are, in a sense, thin people.
You may have your own gallery of saints - witnesses, martyrs, exemplars of godly living, intercessors, friends who have gone before.
One of my teachers had pictures of his favorite saints pinned up on the wall across from his desk, or his bed.
We meet them in a thin place that is closer than you might think: we meet them in the Eucharist. When we participate in communion, we take part in the communion of saints.
In the communion of saints, we are connected through Christ to all who have gone before, all who witness to his resurrection, all who have remembered him in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers, all who have testified to the reality of God revealed in Christ.
These are the mysteries of our faith: we proclaim them openly, on billboards and radio, in bedside Bibles placed by The Gideons, in our thoughts and words and deeds. And we affirm together our common faith, in the words of the Nicene Creed ...
Flatland: a romance of many dimensions by Edwin Abbott Abbott
See: http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi783.htm and http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/97