The Posture Of A Saint (All Saints Day) – Jesse Tyrrell
Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18; Psalm 149; Ephesians 1:11-23; Luke 6:20-31
Every Tuesday morning I have the opportunity to share breakfast with my good friend Jim Reinhard. He always orders 1 sausage burrito with hot sauce, a senior coffee with three creams and two Splendas, and a cup of water. After we both order and pay for our food we play a game. We look at our receipt numbers and compare to see who has a more “godly number.” For example: Jim had the number 134. Before revealing his number, he turned and smirked at me, because he knew there wasn’t a chance I could beat him. 134 equates to 1 God, the 3 characters of the Holy Trinity, and the 4 accounts of the Gospel—134. Game over, I lose. After that we race to see who is going to get napkins so that when we make a mess we are already prepared. Typically if Jim arrives before me he will already have them… seeing that we move at different paces. And then I get to observe and listen. And I love it. He shares amazing stories from his days as a young innocent GC student who fell in love with Marilyn. He shares famous stories about dishwashers, and unforgettable lavatory experiences. If you know Jim, you know these stories. Jim can recall one-on-one interactions with students and tell you exactly what they talked about. And then we talk about current events and we wrestle to understand our role as Christians in a fallen world.
I would consider my friend Jim a saint. He offers me hope. He shares the vulnerable stories of his shortcomings. He celebrates a life that has been molded by following Christ with his impressive and extensive family. He bears fruit as a new creation in Christ. Even though he has lived a full and exciting life, he still longs for more of God. He hungers for the Bread of Life. And he extends grace. Jim is a patient and gracious man that loves well. (Oh, how I hope to be like Jim someday!)
What are the saints inviting us into, on this All Saints Day?
Hope: Our passage in Daniel invites us into a bad dream. It is one of those dreams that troubles your soul, like you have a pit in your stomach—the type of dream where you wake up and don’t know what else to do other than pray.
Victorious praise: Our psalm invites us into a scene of victory. It is thought that this psalm was written following a victorious effort to take control of Zion, also known as the city of God. (This might be a stretch, but if David played baseball for the Cubs… he might’ve written a similar psalm following their dramatic Game 7 victory.)
With open hands: Paul’s prayer for the people of Ephesus invites us into posture of enlightenment, a realization that God’s people (the Church) have received the immeasurable greatness of God’s power revealed in Christ—a power far above all rule, authority, power, and dominion of the world. (I like to imagine Daniel and Paul hanging out playing chess, with Daniel reminiscing about his troublesome dream and Paul responding, sharing what it was like to live after the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.)
Unsatisfied: Luke’s Beatitudes invite us to say, with St. Augustine, “My soul is restless until it rests in you, Lord.” We acknowledge that we are poor—lacking—in need of a Savior. We know we are hungry, empty, with a desire to be filled—longing for the Bread of Life. We weep and sob—heartbroken by the injustices that resemble anything short of the hope we have in Christ. And we are persecuted on account of our hope in Christ, experiencing oppression, people in the world, but not of it. Yes, we will be treated unfairly because we are different.
Extending grace: We are encouraged and invited to love those rising up against us. We are called to help those refusing to help us—to embrace those pushing us away—to offer forgiveness to those hurting/threatening us—to freely give to those asking of us while expecting nothing in return—to extend the grace we long to receive from those we cause hurt or pain.
What does all of this mean for you and me? Well, on this All Saints Day, we get to engage with some of the greats!
As the Saint, Daniel, dreams… so the beasts of sin rise up, in our lives and all around us, so much so that we know not what to do other than pray and pray and pray—and rest in the hope that the holy ones of Christ will possess the Kingdom forever and ever.
Just as the Saint, David, celebrates Israel’s victory to overtake the city of God, Zion, we are invited to celebrate victory as the Bride of Christ.
Which leads us to Saint Paul’s gracious prayer for the Christians of Ephesus, to be enlightened. May we too be enlightened! We, with all God’s creation, God’s territory, God’s Kingdom, are and will be reclaimed as His. We are a NEW creation in Christ. We have inherited the immeasurable greatness and power of God through Christ. We are now a part of the Kingdom of God. Along with the saints we remember today.
And finally, Saint Luke assures us that is okay and right to be forever unsatisfied—always in need of God—always longing to be filled with more of the Bread of Life and the Living Water—to not be okay with the injustices of the world. Saint Luke spurs us on to love those asking of us and rising up against us.
Why? Because we are now a piece of the Kingdom of God, and the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of hope, where everyone is welcome regardless of how they treat us. This is what it means to engage with the saints. This is what it means to be the Bride of Christ. This is what it means to be God’s kingdom.
So rest in hope that the Kingdom of Heaven is ours forever.
Rejoice in the victory of God reclaiming His creation as His.
Receive with open hands the immeasurable power of God through Jesus Christ.
Do not be satisfied with what this world has to offer.
And extend grace to all without expecting something in return.
Do these things because you are a part of the Kingdom of God.
What do we do at The Simple Room? We work to raise up future saints.
If you want to hear about the programs that we offer to help us attain our goal, please reach out to me! (Email: email@example.com)