All Saints Day – Sunday 1st November 2015 – Wisdom 3:1-9
Where are the surprises?
Whose voices do we not hear?
What challenges us?
Surprises – do you agree with what I find surprising in the text?
- The beginning – how much positive encouragement there is in this passage. The comparison between what people are thinking about the death of a ‘righteous’ person – ‘died’, ‘disaster’, ‘destruction’ and the reality ‘in the hand of God’ and ‘at peace’ is surprising.
- The ending – more positives for ‘those who trust in him’: ‘understand truth’, ‘in love’, ‘grace and mercy’.
- The idea that the ‘righteous’ will ‘govern nations and rule over people’ is a promise which hasn’t happened. Yet we pray it might.
The voices we don’t hear – What might they say?
- The bereaved who fear their loved ones (righteous or not) will not be loved, cared for or remembered.
- Those whose disciplining and testing (v5,6) became a grotesque painful ending.
- The ones who did recant at the thought of the ‘furnace’ and the ‘sacrificial burnt-offering’. The ones who didn’t have the courage to accept martyrdom. The ones who are not remembering today.
What challenges us in 2015?
- There is a real sense that the ‘other side’ is a place of no tears, of being secure and held and celebrated. We can’t talk about heaven in detail. But we can confidently tell others about being in God’s hand.
- The martyrs we remember today, who were thought of as foolish in their own time, are celebrated in this passage. May we be given strength to follow in their footsteps.
- ‘I want to be in that number when the saints go marching in’ we are singing this Sunday. Let’s look again at what it cost them – this passage spells it out.