Just before we do a deep dive into eschatology, the end of the world, the return of the King, we have this little pause in the calendar. It is here for all sorts of reasons, but I think this is a much needed diversion for the people of God. It certainly is for the preachers. For the past several weeks Jesus has been talking about serious matters. Reformation day also brings up the painful divisions and reform of the Church. We eat our brats and drink a little bier but the Reformation lives in the tension of now and not yet. It is never entirely comfortable.
All Saints Day gives us an occasion to rest wholly in the promise of God. It pulls aside the veil for just a moment and we get to see and eat with the unnumbered host of heaven. We preached, this festival should inform every time the parishioner comes to the Lord’s Supper. With angels and archangels and will all the company of heaven… Those words of the traditional preface remind us that we believe in a communion of holy people, both those who are made right by the ongoing forgiveness of Jesus in this moment of time and all those whose race has been run and who rest in Christ.
For the beleaguered Christian, this is welcome news indeed. The preacher will not have to work to hard to get the Christian to see why he or she needs this. The larger issue really lies in the Spirit’s hand, getting the hearer to believe that this sacramental meal, this supper of Christ’s body and blood, includes us in this holy assembly. But the preacher must leave that faith creation to the Spirit of God. He is called to bear witness to the Christ, His kingdom, and the blessing of this sacrament. Do so winsomely and beautifully, but do not take to yourself the responsibility for what the hearers do with that. It is in his capable hands.