Sunday, 2 November 2008

All Saints

Service at Cheddington, then at Mentmore. Sunday 2 November. Here are the sermon notes:

What is the difference between All Saints, All Souls, All Hallows (Hallowe’en)

Early Church – anniversary of saint’s martyrdom celebrated

So many martyrs under persecution of Diocletian – All Martyrs then All Saints

1 November in West – Sunday after Pentecost in East

Also called Hallowmas or All Hallows – hence Hallowe’en

All Souls commemorates faithful departed – 2 November

At Reformation, All Saints and All Souls fused in Anglican Church

Restored as separate days in 1980 ASB

Why did Reformers object?

Disagreed with special position in RC church that people were beatified or set aside

So why are we combining All Saints and All Souls today?

Let’s look at what Scripture says

Not so easy – depends on the translation

NIV – no mention of Saints

NRSV – occurs 71 times – 6 OT + Apocrypha; rest in NT esp. Acts + Pauline letters


In NT (whatever word) = everyone who possesses Spirit of God in Christ

Gk: Hagios – holy

Note: a person’s saintliness derives from God not from herself or himself

Saintliness = holiness of God apparent in a Christian soul

I Peter 1:16 You shall be holy for I am holy

Eph 2:19 You are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints (hagioi) and also members of the household of God

APOSTLES CREED – Communion of Saints

Two fold meaning

All holy people share in the holy things God provides

Everyone is called to holiness – to be a saint. This process is completed when we pass from this life to enjoy the light, happiness and peace in the presence of God

MARTYRS – we are all saints, but not all martyrs

From earliest days, Church singled out certain people to commemorate as examples of Christian faith

Came about through sheer numbers martyred under Diocletian – there was a desire to emulate their faithfulness

This was good, but led to unfortunate consequences when taken to extremes



Visiting sites of burial or remains

Intercessors on our behalf to God – depicted wearing crowns

Even prayed to by those still alive

Saints played major role in life of church in Middle Ages – festivals, chantries


Informal process of naming a Saint became formalized

Pope John XV started process in 993

Orthodox church has no process – all those believed to be saints by grace of God need no recognition


Most protestant churches reject veneration of saints – but Anglican churck, RC and some Lutherans have honoured saints since time immemorial.


They remind us that whilst Christ is the one way, truth and life – there are many ways of following him

Lives of saints give insights into how people lived the gospel in their own time – and these insights can apply to every age

All our churches are dedicated to a Saint – anyone know history of S. Giles?

Is it useful to us or beneficial in any way?

We are called to be Saints
1 Cor 1 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord* and ours:

We do not run this race alone, but with all the saints
Hebrews 12.1: Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,* and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,

The Holy Spirit intercedes for the Saints Rom 8:27

As Saints, we are equipped for ministry Eph 4
11The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, 13until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.

So this is a rather different picture we are being given of the Christian life

  1. As Saints
  2. Not struggling alone, but in communion with other saints
  3. Sanctified, called to be holy
  4. Using our special gifts for the furtherance of the Kingdom

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