GRACE LUTHERAN CHURCH
660 Frances Lane
Ashland, Oregon 97520
The Rev. James A. Kabel, Intentional Interim Pastor
THEME of The Day
All Saints celebrates the baptized people of God, living and dead, who are the body of Christ. As November heralds the dying of the landscape in many northern regions, the reading and liturgy call us to remember all who have died in Christ and whose baptism
is complete. At the Lord’s Table we gather with the faithful of every time and place, trusting that the promises of God will be fulfilled and that all tears will be wiped away in the new Jerusalem.
Gathered with angels, archangels, and the whole company of heaven, may God bless your worship.
ORDER of CONFESSION
In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“Turn to me and be saved,” says the Lord. “For I am God and there is no other.”
If we confess our sins, God, who is faithful and just, will forgive our sins,
and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Let us confess our sins to God our Father and in the presence of one another.
+ A Brief Silence for Reflection +
Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have lived only for ourselves, denied our relationship with you, and excluded ourselves from the family. We are helpless and alone. For the sake of your Son, Jesus Christ, have mercy on us. Forgive us, renew us, and let your light shine on upon us, so that we may delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your holy Name. Amen.
As the One who trod the winepress alone, Jesus Christ poured out his life for you. In him there is forgiveness, life, and resurrection from the dead. Rejoice in the Lord, your sins are forgiven in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Thanks be to God!
AN ACT of ADORATION
Let us adore our heavenly Father, who created us, who sustains us, who loves us
with an everlasting love, and gives us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the
face of Jesus Christ.
We praise you, O God, we acknowledge you to be the Lord
Let us glory in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who, though he was rich, yet for our sakes, became
poor; who became obedient unto death, even death
on a cross; who died and is alive forevermore; who
opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers, who
is seated at the right hand of God in the glory of the
Father; who will come again, as Judge and King.
You are the King of glory, O Christ.
Let us rejoice in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, by whom we are born into the family of God, and made members of the body of Christ,those witness confirms us, whose wisdom teaches us, whose power enables us to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.
All praise to you, O Holy Spirit.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
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. Amen.
FIRST LESSON Revelation 7:9-17
[The book of Revelation is written to seven churches in western Asia Minor during a time of great oppression and persecution. 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.]
After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could number, 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. They cried out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And 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, singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying: “Who are these robed in white and where have they come from?” I said to him, “Sir, you are the one who 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. For 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. They will hunger no more, and thirst no more, the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for 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.
The Word of the Lord.
Thanks be to God!
SECOND LESSON 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 only hope is that we shall see God as God really is.]
See 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. Beloved, 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. And all who have this hope in him will purify themselves, just as he is pure.
The word of the Lord. Thanks be to God!
HOLY 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.] When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The gospel of the Lord. Praise to you, O Christ.
HOMILY "God’s Gift of Saints"
Text: The Second Lesson by Pr. Jim
GOD’S GIFT of SAINTS
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
If greatness lies in simplicity—which it does—then it is even more true that saintliness is best described in monosyllables. Uncomplicated … direct … genuine—the saint is a forgiven sinner who knows it and acts upon it.
The text … we heard as the Second Lesson for the day … brims with monosyllables or words very close to it. Love … Father … children … hope … pure and this—we will be like Him for we shall see Him as He is. That phrase of just thirteen monosyllables expresses all we can know … all we need to know … of eternal life. And it does so in simple, clear language that any second grader can understand.
This description of God’s love for us is well suited for All Saints’ Sunday. Saints are children of God, who are filled with wonder and awe over their calling … who are a continuing puzzlement to the world … and who are purified in the hope of being like their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the eternity that lies beyond this life.
I speak of saints as they. The text uses we … us … our. That’s a better shift of the pronoun … for the Second Lesson describes you and me. God is pleased to call us His children. Behind being called God’s children lies the whole work of God’s plan to redeem us through His Son’s suffering and death on the Tree of the Cross. It’s there that our Lord paid the price. All that orphans us … all the lovelessness that separates us from God … all that we’re ashamed of in our ourselves … all that we do against others is accounted for in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
“See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God …! “
writes the blessed Apostle John.
We … you and I … are children of God. Saints is another name. Becoming saints … God’s children … means getting new eyes … eyes that delight in seeing the wonder of God’s creation … eyes that long to look in faith upon Christ—to think of Him … praise Him … speak to Him in prayer … count on Him for everything … look for ways in which to serve others and lead them into His loving presence.
See … the text urges. Take off the blinders … feast your eyes on the love the Father keeps on giving us in His Son!
But that’s the problem … isn’t it? We don’t see … or at least, we don’t see as clearly as we should. For many of us, the overwhelming majesty of God’s great … endless… and unconditional love for us in Christ is rather taken for granted. We hear a text like this and check our watch to see how long this morning’s Zoom worship is running, or daydream for a while.
And the marvel of it all is that God still bears with you and me. On this All Saints’ Sunday, isn’t it time to enter into the sphere of wonder … marvel … delight and whole-hearted amazement at who we are in God’s sight? Isn’t it time to recapture the wonder and awe of being called a child of God—a saint?
During the past week, I’ve read a series of e-mails on Post-modernism, Gen-Xer’s, and Generation Z on the discussion group I belong to. As I read them, I thought of the SOU students who worship with us and need the faithful example of all of us. For what the discussion underlined is that the current generation is unlike any other generation before it. These generations have less in the way of moral and ethical guidelines than we had as Busters and Boomers. They and the universities they attend sees truth as relative rather than absolute … and little loyalty for institutions and little respect for authority.
In these COVID moments and times in our lives and the life of this parish, we have all the more urgent a calling to be faithful witnesses not only to those who gather around Word and Sacrament with us at this altar each Sunday, but to be faithful witnesses to the unchurched of our communities as well. This communion of saints—which we call Grace/Ashland—is and must continue to be a lively and promising place for all the saints to influence one another for lasting good. We need to be for each other—regardless of age. We need to be examples of people who gather in community in our sanctuary … or at home via Zoom … worshiping regularly … serving faithfully … and sacrificing willing as God’s people here in this place so that all people may know the truth of God’s grace and love in Christ Jesus our Lord. As living saints … God’s children … we are to be examples in these pandemic days so that others may see Him at work in us and through us. Together … you are I are to be saints who know the sweat and struggle of the Kingdom … saints who give witness to the staying power that comes from God alone.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God!
And that is what we are! What more could anyone ask for? What more could anyone hope to be?
+ In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. +
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth.
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
The third day He rose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven
and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life + everlasting. Amen.
PRAYERS of THE CHURCH
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
those in need.
A Brief Pause
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. Lord, 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 made and how to manage it well for future generations. Provide the needed rains and weather conditions to bring all wildfires
under control. Protect all firefighters and first responders as they seek to manage any further devastation. Bring strength, comfort, and relief to those affected and displaced by wildfires
and Hurricane Zeta. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord of every nation, guide this country—red states and blue states, rural voters and urban voters, young and old—as we share in another national election. Kindle hearts eager to understand our common needs and seek our common good. Give us delight in living with
honor and love toward our neighbor during these days of protests, rioting, and civil unrest. Calm our anxiousness and bless us with the necessary healing and change that only you can give. Grant that world leaders seek your wisdom and guidance for the good and welfare of all people so that divided nations and communities may be restored with your reconciling truth. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord of life, shelter all who are vulnerable in body, mind, or spirit especially your servants: Kristel (whose surgery was postponed), Steve (lymphoma); Marguerite (MaryAnn’s mother)
and Shari, together with those we name in our hearts … brief pause … raise the spirits of those who are homebound in our parish, especially Sharon, Joyce, Richard & Doris, Rusty, Bonnie, Vernia, and Elma that they may be assured of your presence through our prayers and acts of service and love. Lord, in your mercy. Hear our prayer.
Lord of every venture, anoint us with the missionary spirit of the early Church. Bless all new missions of our Synod. Empower testimony from new communities of faith to shape a diverse witness to your saving power and grace. Continue to make us signs of your mercy and compassion for our neighbors and the communities in which we live. Lord, in your mercy.
Hear our prayer.
Lord of every time, countless are the multitudes you have called by name and gather to yourself We bless and thank you for all the saints who have gone before us with the sign of faith and now rest in your loving arms. On this day, we remember before you Alan Ourant (chime & a brief pause) … Diane White (chime & a brief pause) … and those family members and friends who have received the crown of life during this past year (chime & a brief pause). May we be inspired by the examples of their love and faithfulness until we join them in paradise. Lord, 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.
THE GREAT THANKSGIVING
The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Our Father who art in heaven;
hallowed be Thy Name,
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those
who trespass against us;
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom
and the power and the glory
forever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER of THANKSGIVING
Blessed are you, God of heaven and earth. You satisfy us with good things as an eagle feeds her young. Renew our strength, that we may go with eagerness and joy into the places where you send us to work in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you.
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The Lord look upon you with favor and give you + peace. Amen.