Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18
Dear fellow ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
grace and peace to you from Christ who is all and in all. Amen
There’s more to this world than meets the eye,
I think sometimes we forget this,
wrapped as we are in a world that requires proof for belief.
Now don’t get me wrong,
I think the scientific method is fundamentally important,
observations leading to conclusions
about how life works,
and of course proof is very necessary
in courts of law
when the freedom of someone is on the line,
but there’s more to this world than meets the eye
this is not an either or situation,
this is a both and situation,
there are many things we can and should observe
before we make conclusions,
and there are things beyond what we can see,
and there is truth in both.
And it’s this second part that we have lost touch with,
the truth that exists beyond our five senses,
and that gets to be dangerous for us
because we start to believe
that we can figure out and manipulate everything,
and if we can do that
we become responsible for everything
and that is overwhelming,
if everything is up to us
we quickly get in over our heads,
This is why the second step in the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous,
after the first step of admitting powerlessness,
is to come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore sanity.
(Step 3 is to turn our lives over to the care of God).
If we are responsible for everything
we quickly lose perspective,
There is more going on in this world,
in life than we can see
This sense of more
pervades our readings for today
Daniel is having visions,
terrifying dreams of kings and beasts
but in the end it is the Most high God
who will possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.
A song of praise in our psalm
turns into a celebration of the triumph
of God on behalf of the poor.
Jesus speaks of blessings and woes
that are the exact opposite of what we would call blessings and woes.
There’s more going on than meets the eye,
there’s more than just right now
and God’s the one who is in charge of it all,
the truth of what we see
and the truth that exists beyond.
And God has promised to take care of us,
and beyond, forever, forever and ever.
That’s what Paul is telling the Ephesians
in our reading for today,
reminding them and us
that even death is unable to hinder God’s will,
God raised Christ “from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come.”
in our baptisms
we have been joined to Christ
and marked with the seal of the holy spirit,
the mark of the cross on our forehead
as we entered the community of the saints.
We often use the title saint
for those who have died
but the title saint belongs to anyone joined to Christ,
and in Christ
not even death can get in the way
of the gathering of the community of saints.
Today we take a moment to pause and remember that,
along with the saints who are no longer with us in body
but who are still a part of the community,
saints with whom we gather around the table each time Christ feeds us,
Our liturgy invokes the presence of the whole community
as we approach the table,
in the words of the preface
we acknowledge that it is our duty and joy
to give thanks and praise to God
who saved us through Jesus Christ
and we conclude “and so, with all the choirs of angels, with the church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we praise your name and join their unending hymn”
and then we break into that song,
holy, holy, holy, we sing
with the host of heaven
as they gather to join in the feast as well.
communion is the meal of a community
that is not bound by time and space
though that can be hard to sense at times,
which is why Paul prays for the Ephesians, and us
this prayer: “I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him, so that with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you”
When the eyes in our head let us down,
it is the eyes of our heart
that reveal the truth beyond,
the eyes of the heart that hold on to hope
when everything seems hopeless,
the eyes of the heart
that see the seal of the holy spirit that marks us as a saint,
a member of the community in Christ
that stretches beyond time and space.
Today, as we observe All Saints day,
we look with the eyes of our heart
at our community and all its members,
especially the ones we no longer see with the eyes of our head,
we remember them and their lives lived among us,
how they impacted our lives
and then we join them once again
as we do each Sunday,
in singing the praises of God
and sharing a meal once more.
And we are left knowing,
the kind of knowing felt in our hearts,
the truth that there is more to life than meets the eye,
that we are loved beyond time and space,
that we are part of a community called to hope. Amen
Pastor Emily Johnson preaches weekly at Christ Lutheran. These are manuscripts of her sermons given at Christ Lutheran. Feel free to engage with them in the comments section of the blog.