All Saints Day – Sunday 1st November 2015 – Wisdom 3:1-9

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?

  1. 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.
  2. The ending – more positives for ‘those who trust in him’: ‘understand truth’, ‘in love’, ‘grace and mercy’.
  3. 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?

  1. The bereaved who fear their loved ones (righteous or not) will not be loved, cared for or remembered.
  2. Those whose disciplining and testing (v5,6) became a grotesque painful ending.
  3. 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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. ‘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.

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