"Blessed are the Saints"

“Blessed are the Saints”

Matthew 5:1-12 and Revelation 7:9-17

November 5, 2017 – All Saint’s Sunday

The Rev. Todd R. Goddard, Pastor

East Rochester & West Walworth: Zion United Methodist Churches


Matthew 5:1-12

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 for 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 is 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.





On this first Sunday following November 1st,

Known as All Saint’s Sunday,

We pause to remember our Christian loved ones,

Who have left this mortal life,

And who now benefit with eternal life

In the presence of God.


From Revelation, we earlier heard

John’s written word from his exile on the Aegean island of Patmos,

That “these are they

who have come out of the great ordeal.”

(Revelation 7:14)


Indeed, life is a great ordeal.

Beginning with the miracle of conception,

Life is given and guided by the hand of our Divine Creator,

The same author of the universe,

The one who makes each of us in his own image.


God is at the wheel and

We are along for the ride.

And what a ride it is!



Each of us have very different life trajectories,

Yet, there are some events and ideals that all Christians hold in common.


1. Every disciple of Jesus Christ

Has first been chosen by almighty God

To come to the baptismal waters

And become united in baptism.

By our baptism we are united

With Jesus,

With every Christian who has come before us,

With every Christian now living,

And with everyone who God has yet to call to the water.


Baptism unites us,

Levels the playing field,

And forever marks us

Undeniably as Jesus’ own.


Remember the baptism of your loved one.

Remember your baptism.

And be thankful.


2. To live is to stand with both feet firmly planted on this earth.

All Christians share the fact that we were, or are, human.

We are united by our hunger and our thirst.

We are united by scorching heat and blowing snow.

We are united by our love and our grief,

Evident by the tears in our eyes.

And together,

Jesus leads us to the springs of the water of life.

(Revelation 7:17)


Living according to the will of God

Is living a life that is blessed.

Blessed doesn’t mean charmed or privileged.


To receive God’s blessing means that God approves

Of righteous effort and behavior.


God approves,

His Son assures us in his Sermon on the Mount,

Of those who are poor in spirit.

God approves of those who mourn.

God approves of the meek.

God approves of those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.

God approves of those who are merciful, pure in heart, and who work for peace.

God approves for those chose to follow God

When it would be easier not to,

And as a result, end up on the receiving end of persecution.


Christians are united by God’s blessings and grace,

Not only in God’s present approval,

But also in God’s future promise.


Those who live in God’s present approval

Are promised the kingdom of heaven,

Are promised God’s comfort,

Are promised to inherit the earth.

Those who are blessed today

Will be filled tomorrow.

Those who grant mercy

Will receive God’s mercy.

Those whom God approves will see God’s face,

Will be forever called and known as God’s own children,

And will inherit the kingdom of heaven.


Today’s approval

Results in eternal grace.


Remember how God has blessed our beloved saints,

Whom we remember this day.

Rest assured that God has now fulfilled his promise.

Give thanks for God’s blessings in your life

And look forward to receiving His future promise.


3. Every disciple of Jesus Christ

Endures the fury of temptation to violate God’s laws and will.

John of Patmos writes

“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.”

(Revelation 7:14)


Everyone sins.

The saints we remember today

Have sinned.

We share with them and with each other the Devil’s fire,

Attempting to navigate this mortal life through Daniel’s furnace,

Walking the valley in the shadow of death.


As we are united by our temptation and sin,

So, too are we united by our Lord’s grace;

His forgiveness

Through his crucifixion.

We ask John, “How can blood wash clean a white robe?”

When that blood is Jesus’ own blood

And we stand in the soiled robe of sin.

We are unified in our petition to be cleansed.

And we are united in God’s mercy and grace

With the gift that Jesus gives to each of us.

By his death,

We are washed clean.


Remember no more the sins of those who have now died in the Lord.

Forget their trials, temptations, and sins.

Jesus has; and so, too, should we.

Confess the name of Jesus.

Claim him as your Lord and Savior.

And receive the forgiveness of your every sin.


4. Lastly, every disciple of Christ

Living in this kingdom

Can expect to be united with every other disciple

Living in the heavenly kingdom,

Standing before the throne

Worshipping God, singing


Blessings and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving

And honor and power and might

Be to our God

Forever and ever!


(Revelation 7:12)


We will join with our beloved saints who have preceded us

In God’s eternal kingdom.

Jesus assures us that he’s prepared our place.

He’s given us his Holy Spirit to guide us there.

And Jesus has promised us

That we will be united with his saints around the throne.


There will be no sin,

No temptation,

No broken relationships;

Because each of us will be standing in a span clean robe,

Newly washed.

Wesley called this perfection.

John calls this God’s heavenly banquet.

Jesus promises us that he is looking forward to greeting each of us,

Soon face to face. 


Hold tight to the memories our saints have given us;

Especially their witness and strength of faith.

Allow God to use these memories to guide and direct

Our own journey through this great ordeal.


Give thanks to God

For sharing with us for a time our beloved saints.

Give thanks to God for receiving each of them home.

And give thanks to God for our promise,

Our inheritance,

That one day,

We, too, will be welcomed home.