Reflection for All Saints Sunday 31st October 2021

When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”

Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

John 11: 32-44


All Saints is the day we remember the great saints through history, I wonder how many can you name? Quite a few I dare say, but what about Saint Joan, who introduced me personally to Jesus by the way she lived her life – and the Christian values she demonstrates even today? Or Saint Anne-Julian, a nun who showed me what it is to be filled by The Spirit and led me to give my life to the Lord? Or how about Saint Peter, Bishop of Taunton, who picked me up and helped me through a particularly bad patch in my ministry? Many unsung heroes drift in and out of our lives. People I’d definitely call saints, even if they’re never officially recognised by the Church, people who helped set us on our way, and keep and guided us along that way. By “the way” I mean of course the way Jesus commanded us to live (and it’s worth reminding ourselves every now and again that it was a commandment, not just a friendly word of advice!)

So what was that commandment again? To love one another as He loves us. How much does He love us? The answer is in today’s gospel… “Jesus wept” (Jn 11:35). It’s the shortest verse in the bible and yet no two words better sum up just how much He loves us, deeply, passionately, and intimately. Jesus calls us to weep for the world and for the people around us, but more, He wants us – commands us – to turn our tears into action, just as He did with Lazarus.

Rev Geoff Eales

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