All Saints’ Day 2022
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud 
November 6, 2022
Revelation 7:9–17, 1 John 3:1–3, Matthew 5:1–12


Sermons online: 
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Audio:                         pastorjud.podbean.com 
itunes:                        bit.ly/pastorjud
Full Service Audio:   bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship


        Two men walk past each other on the sidewalk, they know each other, but are not that close.  The one man says, “Kent, how’s it going?” and Kent replies…… “fine, you?”  “Fine.”

        Kent says he is fine, but that is a lie.  Kent is broken.  Kent struggles each day.  His dad recently died and his mom has early dementia and is going to need lots of care. Kent gets up and goes to work each day but he does not like his job and his new boss is awful.  There is a woman in accounting that keeps trying to flirt with Kent and he keeps politely discouraging her, but she doesn’t get the hint and Kent finds himself wondering what would happen if he flirted back.  Kent wants to just quit and run away.  When driving he sees highway signs to distant cities and imagines just turning down the interstate and disappearing. 

Kent brings the stress of his job home and too often takes it out on his wife and children yelling at them in a way he would never do at work.  There is so much turmoil and trouble.  It is hard to keep up with everyone’s schedules and there is hardly any time for romance.  Kent worries that his wife doesn’t love him anymore as he has gotten older and heavier. Money is always tight.  Yesterday the check engine light came on and won’t stop blinking and Kent is afraid it is going to be another $1,000 that he doesn’t have.  Too often the words to the folk song really ring true, “Another day older and deeper in debt.”  Kent does not pray like he should or read the Bible regularly.  Often it feels like God is so far away.  Kent is tired, weak and worried. 

        But when someone asks, “How’s it going?”  Kent says, “Fine.”

        And in many ways that is okay.  It would be exhausting to tell each passing person about all of the troubles of your life, and, if you did, soon no one would dare ask, “How’s it going?”

        In order to get the things done in life that you need to get done you hide your brokenness and pretend that everything is okay.  Pretending everything is fine is a survival skill during the work week, but the truth is that we are broken people living in a broken world. 

Sunday morning you stop pretending.  Sunday morning you come to this place of healing and get on your knees and admit that you are broken.  You confess that you are by nature sinful and unclean.  You have sinned in thought, word and deed.  You deserve immediate punishment from God and eternity in Hell.

Sunday morning you recognize the brokenness inside yourself and those around you.  Sunday worship is the gathering of broken people seeking peace with God in the midst of their brokenness. 

        In our Gospel lesson today Jesus proclaims that your brokenness is blessed with eternal blessings for the last day.  Your brokenness is blessed by God.  In your brokenness Jesus declares that you have eternal life and will live with Him forever at the resurrection.

        Matthew 5:3–6 (ESV)  3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 

        Poor in spirit. Mourning.  Meek, lowly, weak.  Hungering and thirsting for righteousness.  These are not positive virtues which you should strive to achieve, these are marks of brokenness.  Jesus declares brokenness blessed…blessed with a blessing for the judgement day. 

        In the midst of all the trouble of this life Jesus declares that all your brokenness will be undone. You gather here each week, a collection of broken people in a broken world, seeking peace with God and Jesus grants you peace.  Our time together is an oasis in the midst of the great chaos of the world.  Now, in this oasis there is the blessed sound of lots of wiggly kids and that is wonderful because together, young and old, united in Jesus, we get a glimpse of what is to come. 

        Each week you retreat from the chaos of life and gather together in this place to hear once again that you are blessed in your brokenness.  You intentionally take a break from the busyness of life to be refreshed and renewed by hearing that your sins are forgiven by the blood of Jesus shed for you on the cross, by hearing God’s Word, by singing praises to God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and receiving a foretaste of the feast to come in the body and blood of Jesus. 

What a wonderful idea to have a day set aside to rest and be refreshed, a day to confess your sins and receive God’s forgiveness, a day to return thanks, a day to be with your church family and loved ones for a day of worship and meals and recreation, a day to be together without the intense hurriedness of a normal day.  What a great idea to have a day set aside for all that.  I wonder who came up with this idea, a day of rest each week? Hmmm.  God himself on the seventh day of creation.  After Jesus’ death and resurrection our Sabbath day has moved from the seventh day to Sunday, the eighth day, the day of new beginnings because Sunday is the day Jesus rose from the dead.  Christians have set the day apart to retreat from the broken world and know that you are blessed in your brokenness.  This is a Holy time together immersed in God’s Word and promises to strengthen you for life in this world.  And the devil hates it.

The devil hates a peaceful congregation gathering to hear God’s Word and receive His gifts.  The devil hates it, so, as a church, we need always to remain on guard against the devil’s attempts to sow division and discord in our midst.  Remain on guard against the devil trying to change our time together from a time of joy and unity in Christ to a time of struggle and strife.  Beware of the evil one prowling around looking to divide us and destroy us and to separate lambs from the flock of the Good Shepherd.  The devil hates our time together each week.

        A once a week retreat from the brokenness of the world for a few hours is good; but it is not enough. Each evening, when you return to your home, how wonderful it is when your home is an oasis from the chaos of the world; a refuge of love and forgiveness and joy; a place where the Word of God is central; a place of forgiveness and love. 

At the end of each marriage ceremony I pray, “Bless our homes that they may ever be a shelter for the defenseless, a fortress for the tempted, a resting place for the weary, and a foretaste of our eternal home with you…”  Your homes should be a respite from the brokenness of the world, but just like with churches, the devil loves to sow division and discord in families.  The devil wants to divide and destroy.  He wants to make your home a place you dread rather than a place you look forward to going each day. 

Now, home life will never be perfect unless there are no people at home, but you can each repent of what you do to bring turmoil into the home and instead seek to love one another and live together in peace and forgiveness.  Seek to make home a shelter, a fortress, a resting place and a foretaste of heaven. Children, obey your parents.  Life will go better if you just do what they say the first time instead of pretending you don’t hear them.  Parents, do not exasperate your children.  Beware of your tone of voice as you speak to the most beloved people in your life.  Leave the troubles of the world outside.  Before you open the front door to go in, take off the stresses of jobs and school and leave them outside.  Inside, work together to accomplish what needs to be done.  Take out the trash when it is full.  Unload the dishwasher.  Help prepare dinner and clean up afterward.  Put away the phones and the tablets for a while and spend time together as a family united in Christ.  Pray together.  Read Scripture together.  Love and forgive each other.  What a wonderful thing it is for your home and your church to be sanctuaries from the world and foretastes of eternity with God.

        You look forward to when your brokenness will be repaired, when you will be comforted from your mourning. When, despite your lowliness, you will possess the earth.  When, your hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied.  When, you will be at peace with the Lord, forever. 

        Today we celebrate All Saints’ Day.  We remember those of our fellowship who have died in the faith.  They are now at peace with the Lord waiting for the last day when their bodies will be raised, and their body and soul reunited in perfection and they will go to live with Jesus forever in the Heavenly City of New Jerusalem. 

Today you also look forward to the day when Jesus will return in glory and you will be taken up or raised up in perfection.  On that day, clothed in the white robe of Jesus’ righteousness, and waving palm branches you will march with the unnumbered masses through the pearl gates into the Heavenly City to begin eternity with the Lord in unbroken paradise. 

        You look forward to when your brokenness will be repaired, when you will be comforted from your mourning. When, despite your lowliness, you will possess the earth.  When, your hunger and thirst for righteousness will be satisfied.  When, you will be at peace with the Lord, forever. 

        For now, you live as a broken person in a broken world.  Jesus blesses your brokenness and makes you to be light and love as you live in His forgiveness -- loving and forgiving each other. 

The last day is coming, but for now, stay alert. Beware of the devil’s deceptions and temptations to conflict and turmoil; division and destruction.  Find peace here, in this place, as we gather together, united in Christ.  Find peace in your home as you live in love and forgiveness.  Bring God’s peace to those around you as you live as the light of Christ. Rejoice that Jesus blesses broken people and gives eternal life.  Live in your blessed brokenness looking forward to the day of perfect healing.  Amen.