All Saints Sunday
Texts: Matthew 5:1-12;
Rev. 7:9-17; 1 John 3:1-3
BLESSED TO BE A BLESSING
“. . . I will bless you, . . . so that you will be a blessing; . . . and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” — Genesis 12:2-3
- Lift up verse, give brief background on Abraham and Sarah, and tell the story of how it was so important this last year in adopting two children from Liberia, Africa (with picture of family).
- Explain link of this verse to Jesus’ words. Abraham and Sarah, and all their descendants, haven’t lived up to this promise. Jesus did. And so all those on the edge of society are finally going to be blessed, as Jesus’ followers learn to live into the promise of blessing. When we are blessings to each other, we find ourselves blessed. Jesus came as the fulfillment of all that, and the beginning of our being able to live that way.
- I’m only going to expand on the children’s sermon, mostly by putting it into context.
- First, there is the context of stewardship
- The Bible opens with our commissioning as God’s stewards, Genesis 1:28: God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”
- By following the desire of the serpent, the fellow creature, we lost our desire to be stewards with God of the whole creation. The so-called fall into sin is the story of our failure as stewards of the earth.
- Second, there is the context of sin and sinner. Gen. 12:2-3 is the beginning of God’s salvation, by living into the promise of blessing.
- Jesus came as the fulfillment of that promise as the true Son of God, so that we can begin to live into that same promise in a renewed way.
- Rest of Sermon on the Mount, some amazing ways to live into that promise: loving our enemies, not worrying about our lives, and, above all, Matthew 6:33: But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
- Living in that promise means living against many of the values of our culture.
- Arthur Simon, How Much Is Enough?, what he told his son: p. 176
- Our personal decision to adopt.
- There are so many other ways to live into that promise of blessing.
- We come to eat and drink to that promise again this morning.
- Jesus blessing bread.
Paul J. Nuechterlein
St. Paul’s Lutheran, Milwaukee, WI,
November 6, 2005