30th October 2022 – All Saints Sunday Eucharist Service

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22 10 30 All Saints Eucharist

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The Readings

Daniel 7.1-3, 15-18

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream: I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another.

As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: ‘As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom for ever—for ever and ever.’

Luke 6.20-31

Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
‘Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.

‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
‘But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
‘Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
‘Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.

‘Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.

‘But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.


Scripture Quotations are from: New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org

The Sermon
By Catherine, a Reader at St Mary's.

Were any of you a little underwhelmed by Daniel’s dream, as portrayed by today’s Old
Testament reading? The four winds of heaven stir up the great sea. Four great beasts
come up out of the sea. Well it’s a promising start, but are you terrified yet? I can’t say I
am! So it seems a bit surprising that Daniel’s spirit is troubled within him and he’s terrified
by his visions. The attendant’s explanation is equally brief. “Oh yes, four kings will rise
up. But don’t worry, the holy ones of God will triumph in the end.”

We usually follow the lectionary – the scheme which allocates suitable readings from
different parts of the Bible to fit each Sunday of the year. And, for one reason or another
sometimes a huge chunk is missing from the Bible passage selected. That has happened
with today’s reading. We didn’t get the lengthy and detailed passages about Daniel’s
actually very weird and scary dream. We got the edited summary, indeed so
enthusiastically edited that the dream has become somewhat tame.

If the whole dream had been left in, there would have been no doubt of why Daniel was so
distressed. It’s one of those dramatic visions that appear in some Old Testament
passages and in the book of Revelation. Passages that have fascinated people
throughout the ages because of their peculiar and bizarre imagery. Passages beloved of
the old preachers of hellfire and damnation. Passages that must be read with care so as
not to distort the Christian message of love and hope.

Stories about the saints have fascinated people in the same way. Many focus not so much
on what the particular saints did during their lives, but go into great detail into how they
died. At times, it has seemed that the more gruesome the death, the more highly valued
the saint. These stories of martyrdom have inspired plays, paintings, pilgrimages and, in
the case of my namesake, Saint Catherine of Alexandria, fireworks.
Although today, we don’t tend to focus on stories about saints, we are still fascinated by
stories about the great and the good, or the infamous and the bad. When someone in the
public eye dies, their lives are described on TV, the internet or in newspaper obituary
columns. We hear about the person’s achievements, but also about any scandals,
tragedies and problems that have been associated with them. Often, the more tragic the
story, the more time or space devoted to it. So perhaps we’re not that much different from
our ancestors who enjoyed gory stories about the saints.

At least one newspaper, however, invites brief obituaries of more ordinary people, in a
column called “Other Lives”. These people won’t be household names, but their lives have
nevertheless made an impact on those who knew them. The writers are usually family
members, friends or colleagues of the person who has died. Unsung heroes for the main
part, but often with interesting stories.

All Saints Day is not interested in the detailed stories of the well known saints. Instead it’s
more like the “Other Lives” column. All Saints celebrates the ordinary, everyday people of
faith. People who, for generations have gone about practising their faith without a fuss.
People whose names and stories have largely been forgotten within a generation or two.
People who have, nevertheless, have kept the faith alive, shared it with others,
accompanying the next generation of believers along the Christian Way. Ordinary,
everyday people.

The book of Daniel is concerned with the ultimate coming of God’s kingdom. Its detailed
imagery may be enthralling and even entertaining, but we don’t need to focus on it to
celebrate the feast of All Saints. The important news was in the summary – “The holy
ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever –
forever and ever.” And this is echoed in our Gospel reading, where Jesus says to his
disciples that whatever happens to them, “Yours is the kingdom of God”. Those first
disciples, ordinary people, went on to share that good news with others, who shared it with
others, who shared it with others… and so on down the generations and across the world.
Generations and generations of ordinary saints, living as lights in the world reflecting
glimpses of God’s kingdom that is here and is to come. Ordinary, everyday people.
People like you and me.


The Prayers
Prepared by Kath

United in the company of all the faithful
and looking for the coming of the kingdom,
let us offer our prayers to God,
the source of all life and holiness.

Merciful Lord,
strengthen all Christian people by your Holy Spirit,
that we may live as a royal priesthood and a holy nation
to the praise of Jesus Christ our Saviour.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Bless Pete and Sophie our bishops and all ministers of your Church,
that by faithful proclamation of your word
we may be built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets
into a holy temple in the Lord.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Empower us by the gift of your holy and life-giving Spirit,
that we may be transformed into the likeness of Christ
from glory to glory.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Give to the world and its peoples
the peace that comes from above,
that they may find Christ’s way of freedom and life.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Hold in your embrace all who witness to your love in the
service of the poor and needy;
all who minister to the sick and dying;
and all who bring light to those in darkness.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Touch and heal all those whose lives are scarred by sin
or disfigured by pain,
that, raised from death to life in Christ,
their sorrow may be turned to eternal joy.
Lord, in your mercy
All hear our prayer.

Remember in your mercy all those gone before us
who have been well-pleasing to you from eternity;
preserve in your faith your servants on earth,
guide us to your kingdom
and grant us your peace at all times.
Lord in your mercy
All Hear our prayer.

Hasten the day when many will come
from east and west, from north and south,
and sit at table in your kingdom.
Lord in your mercy
All Hear our prayer.
We give you thanks
for the whole company of your saints in glory,
with whom in fellowship we join our prayers and praises;
by your grace may we, like them, be made perfect in your love.
Blessing and glory and wisdom,
thanksgiving and honour and power,
be to our God for ever and ever.

All Amen.

Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is used here is copyright (c) The Archbishops' Council 2000