|Dear Gulf Coast Leaders,
TIME CHANGE! This Saturday, Fall back. If you go to bed at 10 p.m, set your clock for 9 p.m. and get an extra hour of sleep!
All Saints, or All Hallows is November 1, but many congregations celebrate it on the first Sunday of November. Halloween gets its name from All Hallows Eve. Many congregations use it as a time to remember the dearly departed of the congregation in the last year, by lighting pillar candles. In some places, congregational members also can come forward to light votive candles in memory of loved ones.
The texts appointed for this day are Luke’s version of the beatitudes, the Sermon on the Plain, complete with a set of "woes," that Matthew doesn’t give us. Blessed are you poor. Not "the" poor, but "you" poor. It’s personal. Not the "poor in spirit" as in Matthew. Luke doesn’t pull punches. Blessed are you hungry. Blessed are you who weep. Blessed are you hated/excluded/persecutd.
The woes correspond: Woe to you rich, full, laughing, esteemed. It’s an uncomfortable passage for those of us who have it good. So Jesus offers us something:
Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you. Turn the other cheek. Give them the shirt off your back. Give to all who ask of you, and don’t expect anything in return. Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Ethics 101.
Why this text on this day? Perhaps we’re being reminded that saints are those who put their trust in God, not int he comforts of this world. In fact, saints are those who are often willing to suffer loss in this world, for the sake of the kingdom of God. Saints are those who bank on the "riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints," per the letter to the Ephesians.
May we have the courage and discipline and grace to be counted in their number.