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Sounding from the dense population of heaven, these words of love

by davesandel on November 1st, 2021

Monday, November 1                                    (today’s lectionary)

Solemnity of All Saints (All Saints Day, or All Hallows Day, Hallomas, Feast of All Hallows)

Sounding from the dense population of heaven, these words of love

See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet, so we are. And what we shall be has not yet been revealed. But everyone who has this hope based on the Father makes himself pure, as He is pure.

The Holy Bible can be a practical handbook for daily living. It can also be a monk’s breviary, and on a day like All Saints Day it marks the mystic path, God’s path to purity, holiness, and heaven.

I had a vision of a great multitude from every nation, race, people and tongue, and they cried out in a loud voice, “Salvation comes from our God, who is seated on the throne, and from the Lamb.” An elder told me that these are the ones who have washed their robes and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb.

Today’s passages commemorate the martyrs who most obviously have had their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb, now in heaven still singing the song they sang on earth, “Salvation comes from our God.” The judgment and wrath that poured out on Sodom is what concerned them then, not the shallow-tempered threats of earthly princes. They paid their money and made their choice, and now they sing and sing for joy.

Our pastor quoted C. S. Lewis: “Aim for Heaven and you’ll get earth thrown in; aim at Earth and you will get neither.”

I get C.S. Lewis and T.S Eliot mixed up. But Eliot said something about this path too. “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

The parking lot on the other side of our fence was filled again in the late afternoon with a teenage Trunk or Treat, Halloween music loud just like our distant fairgrounds in Urbana. “Monster Mash,” “Ghost Busters,” the drum solo from “In a gadda da vida.” Iron butterflies flew through the air, bright orange and yellow, red and green balloons marked a trunk or two. We heard laughter quieting, and then darkness. Silence once again surrounded us. I was glad not to be an Austin police officer on this night of Hallows.

Or maybe I would have enjoyed the action.

Al Michaels crafted his Halloween remarks before the football game, “This is the one night of the year when anything can happen. It’s nearly time for the mystery hour.”

No, do not go naked into that unsacred night. The Bible’s mystic path is far more inviting. Close your eyes and listen. In Eliot’s words again, God’s grace is “half-heard in the stillness between two waves of the sea. Quick, now, here, now, always – (here is) a condition of complete simplicity costing not less than everything.” Calling forth this complete simplicity, Jesus spoke to the crowd beside the sea. He probed for the better side of their nature and promised them their own pure white robes, although probably not yet.

Jesus spoke to the crowds around him, and blessed them. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are all those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, when they insult you and persecute you and speak falsely of you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven!

An anonymous author wrote, “The dense population of heaven is unknown to us on earth, but not to God, the audience of One we should most desire to please.” T.S. Eliot concluded his “Little Gidding” Quartet with this humble homage to the martyrs and the Holy Spirit:

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flames are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

(Revelation 7, Psalm 24, 1 John 3, Matthew 11, Matthew 5)

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