November 3, 2019

Be a Great Ancestor
All Saints’ Day
Pentecost 21, Proper 26, Year C

Becky Robbins-Penniman

How did you come to be in church today?
I imagine a number of us are here for the same reason that Ava Gabrielle Faimalie is here this morning: she is continuing in a long line of people who first came to church because her parents brought them. (We’ll baptize her soon!)

Today, All Saints Day, is the day we celebrate our ancestors in the faith. My ancestors, Anne and Richard brought me, Bernice and Everett brought Anne, Grandma and Grandpa Wilson brought Everett, and that’s as far back as I’m going because this is All Saints Sunday, not Just as our ancestors gave us physical blueprints that impact our bodies, they give us a social blueprint that impacts our lives. Good or bad, we’re kinda stuck with our ancestor’s physical blueprint, our DNA. There’s not much we can do about our DNA, though science is amazing; Good or bad, we also develop under the social blueprint, the life choices, our cultural ancestors gave us. Unlike DNA, however, no matter what social blueprint our ancestors used, eventually, we are each responsible for our own choices on how to live.

One of the most serious tasks of being a human being on this planet, one unique to the human species, is choosing what kind of ancestor we will be. Some ancestors give the legacy of great beasts, demons, kings and powers that tell their progeny it’s OK to exploit the planet and oppress God’s people; that one human can have what they want at another’s expense.

Our ancestors, the saints of the Church, have given us an entirely different legacy: a blueprint of where we learn how love, bless and support each other, to be a blessing to the world and God’s people. In the Church, our ancestors gave us the gift of being in the Body of Christ, teaching us that the best choice we can make on how to live is to be part of God’s plan and purpose to stuff the world so full of love that the world is transformed; not just the Church, but the whole planet. The life of Christ is one of love in action, and it’s the destiny for all creation; this destiny is JOY: Peace, freedom, abundance and hope for all the world.

Now, if we really believe that God is God and that God’s plan will be accomplished, that God’s blueprint for us is the kind of peace, freedom, abundance and hope that Jesus Christ showed us every day of his life among us; if we really believe that God cannot not be stopped, even by death; if we really believe that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is totally capable of overcoming any punk wickedness we come up with, then why on earth would we choose to use any other blueprint for our lives than the life of Christ? Why fight against it? In the end, it won’t work, anyway. But, because we have free will, and because the world teaches greed is good, we can choose the world’s way of grabbing for all the gusto we can get, and teach our progeny that the one who dies with the most toys wins.

Or, we can choose Jesus’ way, the way of self-giving and loving our enemies, and teach it to our children as a way to live eternal life now…

Read the full sermon text HERE.