God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things.
A little girl in Sunday school drew a picture. The teacher asked, "What are you drawing, Mary?" "A picture of Jesus," she said. The teacher said, "Mary, we didn't have cameras back then and, as far as we know, no one ever painted Jesus' picture, so we really don't know what he looked like." Mary said, "You will when I finish."
God is a consuming fire but we will be safe. God has promised us, "When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy of Israel; I am your Savior." Amen.
My friends in Colorado Springs moved to California. A year later they were divorced. She says, "In Colorado, we had deep roots in the church. When we moved, we didn't establish those roots. It was then that our marriage started coming apart." "Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses," they were strong! By themselves, they were weak!
There is a greater reality; a reality that is unbound and free; a greater reality that transforms the tomb into the womb, death into life; it is a greater reality that belongs to God. And it is this greater reality that we celebrate on All Saints’ Day.
This morning, I'd like to share a few pictures from my gallery of saints. None would've thought of him/herself as a saint, and would be quick to tell you that. Because I've lived in a number of places, I've known saints, far and wide. But for the purposes of this sermon, I chose a few who lived here in Hope. You probably knew them.
Tony Campolo tells about a study in which fifty people over the age of 95 were asked one question: "If you could live your life over again, what would you do differently?" Three answers constantly re-emerged and dominated the results. 1. I would reflect more. 2. I would risk more. 3. I would do more things that would live on after I am gone.
The saints are anyone who makes Christ real and relevant to our lives. I have my own collection: Albert Schweitzer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Abraham Lincoln, and a dozen others who have been a part of my life through the years. I try to listen to them. I try to remember them. See Jesus in and through them.
All Saints' Day is the day in the life of the Church where we specifically seek to remember that God works through human beings like you and me. On All Saints' Day we remember that God's presence, although everywhere all the time, is made most real and tangible when communicated through ordinary people.
Some people scoff at Christians because we live by faith—because we believe that which we cannot yet see. They have at our "pie-in-the-sky" outlook. They say, "You only go around once. Can't you see that! Grab all the gusto you can get!" And we reply, "No! We don't just go around once! There is something more, and we have seen it!"