Rev. Charles Lehmann + All Saints Day + Matthew 5:1-12
In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.
Today is All Saints Day. All Saints. Today we celebrate that the church is far larger than we can see. You know that very well. On May 10th our dear sister Pauline Harman left this vale of tears and went to be with the Lord. This was just a few days before I got here. I was saddened by her death. It wasn't that I won't get to meet Pauline. I know that I'll have an eternity to enjoy with her when I join her in heaven. It wasn't even that I wouldn't get to be with her when I got here. Our communion liturgy makes sure we know better than that. The very first Sunday I was here I was with Pauline. On that day we celebrated our Savior's great gifts “with angels and archangels and all the company of heaven!”
The church is much, much larger than we can see with our eyes. It is so vast that it is something that we can only see with our ears. We only know that Pauline, Margaret, Esther, Cleda, and all the saints buried here are worshiping with us because the Lord says so. We only can say it because we believe what the Word of God says about it. Psalm 149 tells us, “Sing to the Lord a new song, His praise in the assembly of the saints! For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; he adorns the humble with salvation.”
The Scriptures love to speak of the holy church as a totality. It's not a collection of small groups of Christians who gather at various places all over the earth. It is one assembly, one congregation of the saints. The Lord has given us His promise. He says, “Wherever two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in the midst of them.” Where Christ is, there is the Church, the one Church, the whole Church. There is one congregation of the saints of which Christ is the chief cornerstone. When we gather together to receive the gifts that Jesus promises in His Name, He is here. And the church is the body of Christ. Christ does not have millions of little bodies scattered throughout Garrett County, Maryland, the United States, and the rest of the world. Christ has one body, and where Christians are gathered in His Name, the whole body of Christ is present even though we cannot see it.
Though the whole church is here, this truth is hidden from us. We can't see the millions of saints who are present wherever their Savior is present. When we look around this room it looks like there are only forty or fifty of us. We can't see Pauline, Margaret, Esther, Cleda, or the members of Zion or even the folks who are worshiping in D.C., Canada, Haiti, and in every other nation. But they're here. They with us are the mystical body of Christ, and Christ is here. He is here in His Word. He is here delivering to you the gifts of life and salvation that He won for you on the cross. And where Christ is, there the whole Christian Church is also.
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