Lectionary Reflection: All Saints’ Sunday

By Carol James

Monday, November 19

Isaiah 25:6-9; Psalm 24; Revelation 21:1-6a; John 11:32-44

Today’s readings seem focused on the promises that God makes to us at the end of our lives — and yet here we are blessed with the presence of so many who are at the beginning of their lives!

Many cultures see times of beginning and ending as “thin places,” where we stand at a moment of choice between the old and the new, and where there’s a special porous quality to our experience.  We can’t stay there — we let go some possibilities as we move into the future.  There’s a commonality to birth and death as seasons of transformation, times we can’t take anything for granted.

When Jesus calls forth his friend from the sealed cave, he cries for Lazarus to be unbound. Through the prophet Isaiah, God promises to remove the shroud that clouds our perception, the ways that fear and pain distort our experience of divine goodness. The path to new life is open before us.

Today we celebrate so many new voyages into an unknown future.  We celebrate all those who, much to their own surprise, have been hailed as saints. We celebrate the glorious possibilities within those we baptize today. We celebrate our brother Mark Stanger, who has encouraged the voyages of so many others as our teacher, our colleague and our pilgrim guide, and who is now stepping into the next leg of his own journey. We celebrate ourselves, loved and loving, and God making all things new.

Carol James has been part of the cathedral community for over a decade. She has served as a co-mentor in the Education for Ministry program. She currently leads the evening prayer providers in the Jail Ministry and is a cathedral staff member.

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