All Saints is about life and living and life and living like All Saints, has a simple theme and it is this: “Here and there”. Now listen closely to what I’m going to say about “here and there”. Here is not there and there is not here and you can’t get there without being here.
Did you ever notice in life that here is here and there is there, here is not there, and there is not here and you can’t get there without being here?
When I was four I asked why I couldn’t go to school. My mother told me because I was not five. When you are five then you can go to school. I was here but not there. When I went school at the age of five I asked when it would be all over. My mother told me not until you’re eighteen — that is, if you’re done with High School and are not going to college. At the age of five I was here and not there yet. But when I was 16 I asked when I could drive a car. When you are 18 my mother told me and you’re not 18 yet. You’re here and not there. But when I got there, 18 that is, I went off to college and didn’t have the money to pay insurance, so even though I was “there” I was still only “here” and not ready for my license. I can keep going on about here and there but I think by not you get the point. The point our readings for today make.
First, Here is not there. 1 John 3:2 “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.”
Growth and change are givens in life and that’s also true about us. Our spiritual lives grow even as our bodies grow. But here is something amazing. Our Spiritual lives continue to grow even though our bodies are through with growing, and not only through, but actually growing weaker. Even in that weakness that comes with aging, there is something new. A new phase filled with assets and liabilities that, frankly, come with every age.
St. John wrote, “What we now are is not what we will be.” That’s because God, who never changes, is constantly changing us to be more and more as He would have us be. Fit for service, in harmony with His will, moral and whole, as was His only Son Jesus Christ.
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The second point today is likewise true There is not here. Revelation 7:9 “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.”
That’s right. We believe that life as we now know it is not all there is to life. The time of this life is but a drop in an ocean of time, and much more. That’s eternity. In the Christian faith we believe that death is another phase of living, a living in an existence that is completely and totally peaceful. The word used is bliss.
Just how good is it there? “They will hunger no more, and thirst no more, the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat.” St. Paul had this hope flaming in his heart when he said, “I am convinced that the troubles of this life are not comparing to the glory to come.”
Imagine a place where there is no death, or sorrow, or pain, or tears. No warts or birthmarks, or limps, or aching joints, or fading eyesight, or broken organs!
Such a place exists, and those who have died in Christ this past year are in that place. They are there and we need not grieve for them, because there they wait for you and me. And some day we will join them, and there is only one way to get there, and that’s what point three is about.
You cannot get there without being here. That’s what Jesus was getting at when in Matthew 5:1-12 he said “Blessed are…for they will….” Notice the pattern? There was the present tense “blessed are”, at the beginning of each phrase followed by a future tense “for they will”. Jesus was telling us that life is hard now, “a hard service said Job in the Old Testament”, full of sorrow and vexation. Psalm 90 says that “the span of life is but toil and trouble and soon we are gone and we fly away.” It may be tough now, but wait for what’s coming.
What is here is not what will be there.
It’s hard now, but the good will be complete when we are in heaven with them. The phrases fit. A cross now and glory to come. No pain no gain, said Vince Lombardi about football. No cross, no glory.
You cannot get there without being here. Did you notice one last thing about here and there. The difference between the two is the letter “t”. The letter “t” in the alphabet, most resembles the cross.
When we look at the cross and lift high the cross, believing, we see the Savior in life who died and rose and lives on high for all to love and adore. And that being the case, when we live life in the shadow of the cross, even here, whatever here is delivering to your right now, can be seen with all the blessings to come, that is there.
Now to God who is able to do incredibly more than all we can ask or conceive by the Holy Spirit at work among us, to Him be the glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus forevermore. Amen.