Someone Told Someone

All Saints Sunday

Pastor Kris Ross

My family is very important to me.  It was my grandparents and parents who taught me to be a mom and a grandma. They made me feel special and loved and cherished. They taught me about cooking special things, and making holidays special by making my family feel special.

They also shared with me their faith in the Good News of Jesus Christ.  They took me to church, taught me the hymns they knew and loved, let me ask questions of them and others.  And when I was grown with boys of my own, that background shaped how I shared the Good News with them.  My children learned what a life in faith meant and what it looked like.

When I remember my growing up, I can see the saints in my own family, who taught and guided.  Who took the time to tell me the story.  My mom at the piano singing, my great aunt, who taught Sunday school. My grandparents who very active in their church.

Because someone, somewhere told them.  Taught them.  Shared with them.

Someone shared with them this Jesus, this Jewish rabbi who taught us to love God and love our neighbor – love them as ourselves.

This Jesus who in our lesson today, told the crowd on the mountain,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, who hunger for righteousness, the pure in heart, the peacemakers.  Blessed are you when people persecute you and revile you, and utter falsehoods against you…”

Wait, what???

What kind of a blessing is that?  Who would want that kind of blessing?

It certainly wouldn’t be valued much in our world today. Most people equate wealth, power, possessions with being blessed, not mourning or meekness.

But in Jesus’ upside down approach to relationship with God, mourning, meekness, those things are exactly what he considers blessings.

How can that be?

These things remind us of our humanity, our need for God and God’s love.  Who better to comfort someone than a person who has mourned?  Who better to reach out to someone feeling lost than someone who has felt afraid or alone?

Jesus is telling the crowd—and us—that those who make peace, seek righteousness, who are working to bring the kingdom of God to earth ARE blessed, because they are partnering with God to do kingdom work.   When we work to bring peace, to care for others, to share the Good News, we are bringing the kingdom to this time and this place.

In God’s eyes this is what discipleship looks like.  When we seek after the things Jesus is talking about we are aligning ourselves with God’s purpose, participating WITH God in bringing God’s kingdom to this time and place.

What does this have to do with All Saints?  Think of how long this has been going on.

  • From Jesus and his disciples. Paul.
  • To the early Church fathers, Augustine, Jerome, etc.
  • To Martin Luther (whose work we celebrate this year), Zwingli and Calvin
  • To John and Charles Wesley
  • To John Edwards, here in the US.
  • To Billy Graham
  • To MLK

All of these people heard the story, and all of them shared it with others.  Someone told someone told someone. 

From those earliest disciples who took the story of Jesus all over the known world, we find ourselves sitting here today.  Because the story of Jesus is one that has power and meaning in our lives.

And because someone told someone told someone who told us, we are all sitting here today.

Take a moment now in silence.  Each of you.  Think of, remember and hold in your heart whoever it was that shared God’s love and Jesus with you. Think about the place they had in your life, and how they told you about God’s love.   Perhaps it was when you were a little child.  Maybe you were a teenager, maybe you didn’t hear about Jesus until you were older.  But someone told you.  Someone shared and showed you Christ’s love.

And because someone shared, you are here this morning. You are part of this worshipping community.

As a community of faith we work with others to do God’s work in the world.  Some of us work with our children and youth.  Others visit the homebound.  When we work with Metro Lutheran Ministries, do the Panera bread runs, gather things for Safe Home, or Union City Mission we become God’s hands and feet.

And of course, sharing our facilities with other groups, like OPPC, Meals on Wheels, etc.—this is kingdom work.

This is what we do when we hear the story and respond in faith.

So the question before us is this:

Now WE are the ones with the responsibility to share the Good News.  We are called to be saints to others. 

How will we do it?

Who will we share it with?

The people in our homes?

Our work?

Our school?

With the redevelopment going on in this area that is more opportunities to share the Good News with people around us. As we go forward we will find new people to share with and new ways to be part of this growth, to share what we have.

At our Trunk and Treat we saw over 300 people come through our doors.  That’s another way to be God’s hands and feet – showing hospitality.  Showing the face of Christ to others and seeing the face of Christ in others. I’m sure that there were many folks that had never been in our building before.  It may not seem like a ‘churchly’ function, but it begins to build relationships that can grow over time.

For the kids that were here that day, every person who helped put that event on, you WERE saints to those kids that day.  You showed God’s love and Christ’s grace to all the folks who came.

Someone told you, and you heard the word and responded in faith.  Part of that response is telling someone else.  Whether by speaking, but reaching out, by sharing, by inviting.  By letting God’s spirit work in your life.

As God’s beloved people we are called to share God’s love with everyone we see and meet, everyone whose lives cross our path.  Just like Jesus did.  When he sent out the apostles, that was just the beginning, over 2000 years ago.  And because of them, the course of the world was changed.   We are here today. Each of us here today can have the same impact.  How?

Each of us was given that same Holy Spirit that blew through that locked upper room at Pentecost.  Each of us will feel God’s spirit calling to us to reach out and touch someone this week.  We will have an opportunity to show the face of Christ to someone.  To share God’s love.  Because of you someone’s life may be changed forever.

Who will you tell this week?