Yes, I know it's not All Saints Day until tomorrow. My house is appropriately decked with jack-o-lanterns in the window, a bowl of candy is on the counter ready for any goblins who stop by this evening and the "Happy Halloween" yard flag is flying off the porch.
But since All Hallow's Eve IS the eve of All Saints Day, thoughts turn to the celebration of the saints in our worship and reflection this weekend ... and so I'm sharing this brilliant piece by my bishop, Mary Douglas Glasspool (pictured above at Diocesan Dodger Night) from her weekly "unofficial letter" which arrived today while I was doing my official day-off laundry.
Trust me, You'll never hear the Beatitudes quite the same again:
The enemy of fidelity and commitment is apathy, the inability to suffer. In order not to feel the pain of loss, we set emotional limits on our commitments. In order not to be disappointed or hurt in relationships, we set boundaries on our fidelity. In order to avoid suffering, we diminish all passion and exuberance. Apathy is the opposite of exuberance, a way of living designed to avoid pain. And so life and vitality are swallowed up by apathy and despair.May you take God at God's word -- this All Saints Day and always -- as we strive together to live out the outrageous expectations of our extravagant God of love, justice and compassion.
The Beatitudes from Matthew's Gospel are the Gospel Lesson for All Saints' Day. The Beatitudes present an impossible ideal for the Christian life; but discipleship is shaped by immoderation. The poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek and the merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the pure in heart and the peacemakers are the blessed ones. The Beatitudes are the outrageous expectations of an extravagant God. It is appropriate that God should set an impossible ideal for discipleship. Saints mirror God's immoderation.
The Christian life is always moving toward an impossible dream, toward faithfulness and even total commitment in the confidence that God will not condemn us for missing the mark. That is what it means to take God at God's word. That is what it means to be a saint. -- Bishop Mary Glasspool