Adoration of the Lamb, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN.  http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46639[retrieved October 25, 2020]. Original source: http://www.yorckproject.de. Used by permission.

RCL Year A, All Saints
Psalm 34:1-10 and 22, Revelation 7:9-17, Saint Matthew 5:1-12

All Saints’ Day is a favorite Feast among Episcopalians and Anglicans throughout the world. We like it, because it is inclusive. No one is left out if one wants to be in. That is the case I want to build today, for the possibility of sainthood lies on the other side of a door open to you and open to me.

The case begins with the first Beatitude in today’s Second Lesson: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”[1] What I say today about this first Beatitude, I say about them all. And what I say about it is this. Being “poor in spirit” is a choice we make. The door is open to us all. We have only to walk through it.

What I say about this first Beatitude, I say about them all. Those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on Jesus’ account—all these people are what they are, because they have chosen what they will be. The last thing they are is victims. They have chosen to be the kind of person they are. They have chosen to be the kind of person God blesses. The door is open to us all. We have only to walk through it.

Today may be the day when you are able to hear this. I mean really hear it—hear it in such a way that you will make the necessary choice to become the kind of person God blesses if you are not that person already.

I knew a man once upon a time who had made the choice to be poor in spirit. He said so. He was poor in spirit, however, only some of the time, in some circumstances but not in all circumstances. Through God’s mercy, I was able to see the daylight between the circumstances when he was poor in spirit and when he wasn’t. I believe that at that point God meets him, God meets him exactly where he is, and God does for him what he cannot do for himself. Remember today’s First Lesson, John’s vision of Christ and all the Saints: they are “a great multitude that no one could count.”[2] The door is open to us all. We have only to walk through it.


[1] Saint Matthew 5:3.

[2] Apocalypse 7:9.