November 1, 2020 Service




Due to copywrite limitations, we are unable to print the words to the songs.  However, our musicians have chosen music to fit the scriptures.  We invite you to look up the words in your worship book and ponder them.  If you do not have a worship book, ponder the words to one of your favourite hymns and listen for God’s voice. Those who have internet may find the songs on YouTube.


Faith is an act of a finite being who is grasped by, and turned to, the infinite.

~Paul Tillich


On All Saints Sunday we remember those who have died for the faith and those who have died in the faith. We also recognize this day all the baptized. We are sinners. Remember that the next time you look in the mirror. We are saints, as well. Remember that too. We are sinners in our own right and saints by virtue of Christ’s death and resurrection for us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks his blessings on all his saints. Today, as every Sunday, we saints on earth join the saints in heaven in singing God’s praises. We join them at the meal as well, keeping in mind that what we receive here is but an appetizer from the heavenly banquet table.


Call to Worship

In the beginning, God called the world into being, saying,
“Let there be light!”
In the fullness of time, Jesus came from God to us, saying,

“I am the Light of the world.”
In our everyday life, we see the work of the saints,

The ones in whom God’s light shines.
So let us give thanks for the saints this day,

And let us worship God.
We gather this morning to remember our call:

To do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with God.
We bring with us the events of the week in the world and in our lives,
Trying to know how to be just and loving and humble in the midst of it all.
We gather here, and see those who are doing justice, who are kind beyond measure, who set the example for humility.
With gratitude for living saints, with thankfulness for the purpose of faith, let us worship God.

CHILDREN’S SONG:    When The Saints Go Marching In


Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one communion in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.




We are not alone; we live in God’s world.

We believe in God:  who has created and is creating, who has come in Jesus, the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God.

We are called to be the Church:  to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation, to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope.

In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God.


I would like to you meet my iron.  I had to dust it off before showing it to you.  The reason I had to dust it off is because I don’t use it.  Well, not very often anyway.  I think I am allergic to ironing.  So, if I don’t iron, why do I have an iron.  Good question!  I do iron, occasionally, and the reason I brought it to show you is because it reminds me of my mother.  My mother LOVED to iron.  Personally, I thought she was a little weird to like ironing SO MUCH, however, that is what she enjoyed.  So, what does an iron and my mother have to do with All Saints Sunday?  Well, for starters, my mother is a saint.  By that I mean that my mother is dead and is with Jesus.  To confuse you even more, saints don’t have to be dead in order to be saints!  WE are saints.  We who are alive and baptized into the life and death and resurrection of Jesus are the living saints.  We are the ones who live our lives as Jesus would want us to live them – loving our neighbour, helping others, serving God, praying to God, worshipping God…We are all saints!  It is our baptism that makes us saints!  When we are baptized God gathers us in a big hug and says, “I love you, I embrace you, I forgive you, I give you life after death.”   


I do miss my mom.  I am also happy that she is a saint.  I believe that being with Jesus forever would be wonderful!  Until I die, though, I am a living saint, and I shall do what I can to love and serve others, keep talking to God and doing what God wants me to do.  Why?  Because that is what a saint does!  And, when necessary, saints do the ironing.


Let us pray:  Dear Jesus, help us to love others, help us to be kind and generous.  Help us to make sure we talk to you and listen for your answer.  May others get to know you through how we live our lives.  Amen.



young palestinian refugees


            Imagine living in a refugee camp with minimal rights to work, own property or travel.  Imagine families living in that camp – parents, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren all together.  Imagine if those families could see no end to the cycle of poverty and violence they were experiencing living there.  That reality is what Palestinians in 12 refugee camps in Lebanon have been facing for 70 years.

            The camps themselves are overcrowded and the infrastructure is deteriorating.  More Palestinian refugees displaced from camps in Syria have added to the cramped living conditions.  Youth, many rebellious and frustrated, are particularly affected by the overcrowding.  Seeing no future, many of them drop out of school or are recruited by violent extremist factions in the camps.  Mission & Service partner, the Joint Christian Committee for Social Service in Lebanon, part of the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees, is working to change that dynamic with a program for children aged 11 – 15 called Children on the Go.

            The program offers an alternative to the growing culture of violence by providing at-risk youth with other ways to creatively express themselves and imagine a positive future.  The program teaches conflict resolution and gives young people the skills to resist social pressures to resort to violence.  And just as important for their future, the youth are given practical vocational training.  They are then able to a make a meaningful contribution to their families and their communities, learn skills, and gain the respect of their peers, parents and community.

            Your gifts to Mission & Service help build resilience and a culture of peace in the midst of conflict in the refugee camps of Lebanon.

            If Mission & Service giving is already a regular part of your life, thank you so much!  If you have not given, please join me in making Mission & Service giving a regular part of your life of faith.  Loving our neighbour is at the heart of our Mission & Service.



Give praise to God, who accompanies us on our journey, who hears our cries and anguish, and who remains faithful and answers our prayers. Give glory to God, who brings life out of death and joy out of sorrow!  Feed us with your Word so that we may nourish others with your love and generosity.  Amen.

Readings and Psalm

First Reading: Revelation 7:9-17

The book of Revelation is written to seven churches in western Asia Minor during a time of great oppression. Today’s reading is a response to the question asked in 6:17: “Who is able to stand?” The writer gives the faithful the assurance of God’s protection and a vision of victory.

9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying,

 “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and

they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing,

 “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom

 and thanksgiving and honor

 and power and might

 be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

  13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, robed in white, and where have they come from?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you are the one that knows.” Then he said to me, “These are they who have come out of the great ordeal; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15For this reason they are before the throne of God, and worship him day and night within his temple, and the one who is seated on the throne will shelter them.  16They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; 17for the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Psalm 34:1-10, 22

R:  Fear the Lord, you saints of the Lord; for those who fear the Lord lack nothing. (Ps. 34:9)

1I will bless the Lord at all times; the praise of God shall ever be in my mouth.
2I will glory in the Lord; let the lowly hear and rejoice. R
3Proclaim with me the greatness of the Lord; let us exalt God’s name together.
4I sought the Lord, who answered me and delivered me from all my terrors.
5Look upon the Lord and be radiant, and let not your faces be ashamed.
6I called in my affliction, and the Lord heard me and saved me from all my troubles. R
7The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear the Lord and delivers them.
8Taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are they who take refuge in God!
9Fear the Lord, you saints of the Lord, for those who fear the Lord lack nothing.
10The lions are in want and suffer hunger, but those who seek the Lord lack nothing that is good.
22O Lord, you redeem the life of your servants, and those who put their trust in you will not be punished. R

Second Reading: 1 John 3:1-3

A saint is one who has been set apart by God for God’s purposes. God, out of divine love, set us apart to be the children of God. Our holy hope is that we shall see God as God really is.

1See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.



Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

In the Beatitudes, Jesus provides a unique description of those who are blessed with God’s favor. His teaching is surprising and shocking to those who seek wealth, fame, and control over others.

1When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

  3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

  5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

  6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

  7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

  8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

  9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

  10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”



Hope, hope, and more hope!!  If you remember nothing else about my sermon today, remember the word HOPE, for this is the message that rings loudly and joyously throughout the lessons for this All Saints Sunday. 


And what a message!  I can think of no greater message to offer the world.  On a planet struggling with a pandemic, nations at war, poverty, abuse, racism, sexism, and numerous other ‘isms’; addiction, hatred and hopelessness, I can think of no better message to give to the world.  There is so much hope in these passages for today that one would think the story recounting the birth of Christ should be read instead!  But no, there is a specific message of hope that must be spoken.  It is the hope that flows from trust in God, and the forgiveness of sins that is offered to us through Jesus Christ when we acknowledge and confess our sins before God and one another.


All Saints Day is a commemoration of Christians who have gone before us, both martyrs and devoted followers.  When we pray, we are united with the departed saints as their words and deeds are recalled and strength is renewed from the power of their memory. We are united with the Church of Christ on earth as our prayers world-wide rise as incense to God on the wings of the Spirit.  If you ponder this image to its depth, the Church is one powerful community! 


But what exactly do we hope for?  Let us look at a few more well-known saints, both living and dead, to gain an understanding of the reasons for our hope. 


As an introduction let us look at the psalm for today, Psalm 34.  It begins with a resounding, yet brief, hymn of praise.  Now why do you think the psalmist would be praising God?  Why do each of you praise God?  When do you praise God?  For me, I praise God if I am feeling exceptionally close to God at a particular time, or when I have just passed through a rough period in life and God has made it known to me that I am not alone, that I did indeed gather strength from God’s presence.  Similarly, as we look at vs. 4-6 it becomes apparent that the psalmist has also gone through difficult times and after calling out to God, was ‘saved from every struggle’.  As a result of the psalmist realizing the trustworthiness of God, the appropriate response of faith and trust is to encourage others to lean on God in times of fear and need.  Experience is the best teacher when it comes to realizing the power of God in one’s own life.  We can best share this knowledge if we are living examples of God’s hope as we walk with others who suffer.



When we look at the gospel lesson, we settle down in comfort, for the words of the beatitudes are so familiar.  But do you realize the fullness of the message of hope in this passage?  Who is on the hill?  If we read the few verses that precede this situation, we discover that “Jesus’ fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought to him all the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and Jesus cured them.  And great crowds followed Jesus from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.  When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain….”  If we take the text just as it stands, the ones on the hill are the ones who have just been healed–touched by the love of Jesus and the grace of God.  They were the poor in spirit, but now they are part of the dominion of heaven on earth that Jesus is introducing.  They were the mourning, now they are the comforted.  The ones who brought family members and friends to Jesus to be healed, who showed mercy, they themselves have been shown mercy by the healing of their loved ones.  The hope has already occurred!  It is a double hope, for one may look at Matthew’s beatitudes as how a disciple of Christ is to live life on earth, and also see the rewards of the faithful in the life to come.  Whether you live on this earth, or die and be united with God, there is hope!  Those who trust in God will NOT be disappointed!


The image of heaven that John sees in his vision is one of splendor, comfort, and the knowledge of a hope fulfilled; “So, THIS is what eternity is like!”  There is no need for sun or moon because the glory of God shines so brightly!  Imagine, if you would, the comfort these words of John give to those who are dying, and those who mourn the death of another.  There is such hope expressed in the vision that it is not surprising to find passages from Revelation throughout the service for the sick and dying, and throughout the funeral service itself.  Again, from the eyes of faith, to be united with God in the beauty of the New Jerusalem is the hope in the midst of suffering and death.


Bearing all this in mind, let us now look at some of the saints, both living and dead.  St. Steven was the first Christian martyr.  Yet in his death, he too saw a vision of heaven and was comforted.  He had proclaimed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and died with the knowledge that he had been faithful and would now know peace.


Last week we celebrated Reformation Sunday.  The Reformation began as Martin Luther’s desire to discuss and debate the issues of theology and ministry that had become distanced from God.  Humans, even those at the top of the Church hierarchy, are always susceptible to the temptation of power and greed.  Throughout history, Christians have committed some horrific abominations against other human beings, all in the name of Christ.  If one were to list them all, it would be an embarrassingly long list.  Yet in spite of ourselves, the hope of the forgiveness of sins and the power of the Spirit to change the direction of our sinful lives, as evidenced by the Apostle Paul, lives on. 


A contemporary parallel to Luther and the Reformation is the late Arch Bishop Oscar Romero.  He too saw the greed and corruption of the church and its participation in politics that maimed rather than fed the spiritual life of the children of God.  Like Luther, he too gained courage in the Spirit to speak up and name the sins as he saw them.  Like Luther, Oscar Romero’s life was placed on a death list, but unlike Luther, he became the victim of an assassin in 1980.  In a 500 year span, history, it could be said, repeated itself, yet still with all the evil that surrounds us, that exists even in the church, our hope lives on, for we know what the Holy Spirit can do through those who live the life of a disciple of Christ.


Contrary to what it believes, the world needs the body of Christ, the Church.  Not a human church that proclaims who is “in” and who is “out”; hands out lists of “do’s” and “don’ts” in order to win one’s way into God’s favour and keeps score of everyone’s sins – to be aired publicly.  No, that is not Christ’s body.  What the world needs is Christ’s body, the Church, to walk through slums and alleyways to help those homeless, addicted, mentally ill and lost.  The world needs Christ’s body, the Church, to feed people, clothe people, comfort people and let them know they do not suffer alone.  The world needs Christ’s body, the Church, to listen to the stories of others, hear confessions, grant absolution and teach the world the real meaning of reconciliation. THIS is the church that the world needs.  Christ’s Church needs brave souls who do not fear suffering and death to proclaim a message that the world does not want to hear.  And when those brave souls minister to the world with such power from the Spirit, the world is changed – and so are we.


It is important to remember the saints.  Their memories give us strength.  Their vulnerabilities remind us that God uses imperfect, ordinary people to do the extraordinary!  Their ministry gives us hope.  And hope, people, keeps us trusting in the God who created us, who loves us, forgives us, embraces us, redeems us, who claims us as God’s own.  For all this we respond with a resounding AMEN!


HYMN OF THE MONTH:  More Voices #127  I Saw The Rich Ones


Longing for Christ’s reign to come among us, we pray for the outpouring of God’s power on the church, the world, and all in need.

Lord of all the saints, we praise you for evangelists and martyrs whose sacrifices witness to your gospel across time and space. Inspire us by their courage to carry our faith to new people and places around us. God, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord of every place, the universe proclaims your greatness from generation to generation. Bless the work of naturalists, conservationists, and park rangers who train our attention to the wonders of the world you have made. God, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord of every blessing, your Son’s blessing came to those living with poverty, grief, hunger, thirst, and persecution. Shape our vision of the saints to match his own. Awaken in us your call to serve all who suffer. We pray specifically for our family members, friends and community members who are in need of your presence and healing:  Mike, Brooke, Sandy, Nicole, Debbie, Dwayne, Gordon, Carolyn, Douglas, Tracy. 

God, in your mercy,

Hear our prayer.

Lord of every time, countless are the multitudes you have called by name and gathered to yourself. Comfort us as we grieve those who have died in the past year. In faith, may we join with them in ceaseless praise.  God, in your mercy

Hear our prayer.

Receive our prayers in the name of Jesus Christ our Savior, until that day when you gather all creation around your throne where you will reign forever and ever.  Amen.



As you have been loved – love. As you have been welcomed – welcome. As you have been fed – feed. As you have received – give. And may the boundless love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the presence of the Holy Spirit be always with you. Amen.

SENDING SONG:  WOV 689  Rejoice In God’s Saints




Copyright © 2016 Augsburg Fortress. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission under Augsburg Fortress Liturgies Annual License #SAS011617. 
© 2011 The United Church of Canada/L’Église Unie du Canada. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike Licence. To view a copy of this licence, visit