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All Saints Day-2013 I have always found it strange that we tell ghost stories only on the days and

nights approaching and during Halloween. And it s even stranger that for the !ost part we tell only one "ind of ghost story. #e tell the stories of fear full with the horrors of life and the far worse horrors of the after-life. #e tell of grueso!e !urders and doo!ed souls. $he effectiveness of this "ind of ghost story depends on a singular factor% Does it scare the Hell out of us& And even though it is 'ust a few days after Halloween( everyone has laid these "inds of ghost stories to rest until we raise the! up again this ti!e ne)t year. *ut there are so!e stories and so!e ghosts that are never really laid to rest. $hese are the real ghost stories. If you can +ear it( I offer up one real ghost story. ,or if I tell it 'ust the right way then this ghost story !ay +e the one to shoc" you !ost of all. And if you listen 'ust the right way( it !ay +e the ghost story that haunts you for the rest of your life. -y friend $o! has a !orning routine. $o! wa"es up( !a"es coffee( sits in a recliner( and spends ti!e with his father. So!eti!es( $o! isn t fully present finding that he passes the ti!e playing a ga!e on his I-.ad or reading a newspaper or +oo". /ther ti!es( $o! is co!pletely and wholly present with his father in the silence of the early !orning. It s in these latter !o!ents of silence when $o! feels !ost at peace. In this ritual( it is as if $o! and his father have found a place that is not really a place. And the ti!e of their !eetings are not really in ti!e. $o +e honest( this is the only way that $o! can have such a !eeting. ,or $o! s father died in April. If you were to hear $o! tell his own ghost story( you would "now that there is so!ething !ysterious a+out that recliner. It s not !ysterious in a spoo"y or creepy way. $his isn t a haunting or a poltergeist or anything li"e that. *ut there is so!ething that happens when $o! sits in his father s recliner. It pro+a+ly would not happen to anyone else +ut $o!. $o us that recliner would see! 'ust li"e a recliner +ut for $o! it is a !ode of transit +etween the here and now and that un"nown ti!eless( placeless space where the dead hold residence. It is a !ethod and !eans of co!!union. $o! is united with his father through that recliner in a way that I can t e)plain +ut I "now to +e true. ,or( we 0hristians e)perience the sa!e "ind of !ystery every Sunday. In a few !o!ents as we parta"e in Holy 1ucharist( we will +e visiting with our very own ghosts. #e will enter into the dwelling place of those who have died and +e invited to dine with the!. $o! s ghost story which is really the 0hristian ghost story is not the "ind that atte!pts to scare the Hell out of us. /urs is a story in which we are not shoc"ed +y horror +ut overwhel!ed +y awe +ecause we find that we are already in Heaven. #e are constantly and forever connected to our ghosts( to those we thought of as still loved yet lost. Here in this !ysterious !o!ent of Holy 1ucharist they are found to +e present and still loving us. /ur ghosts% !others( fathers( +rothers( sisters( hus+ands( wives( partners( friends( and a whole +unch of strangers we never !et on this tiny 1arth who we call the Saints are all here with us. $his is one aspect of cele+rating All Saints Day and it really is a cele+ration. #e do not !ourn for the dead +ut we re'oice with their living eternal souls. #e sing today fro! our .sal!( 2Hallelu'ah3 Sing to the 4ord a new Song( Sing His praises in the congregation of the faithful.5

In part( All Saints Day is a+out honoring the 0hristian ghost story. #e honor all the ghost of our faith especially those we "new personally. #e honor the! especially today +ut not 'ust today. #e honor the! every ti!e we ta"e Holy 0o!!union( every Sunday and every service. $he dead are not dead +ut always in our !idst.

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*ut that is only a part of it. All Saints Day is not only a+out the dead +ut e6ually and perhaps even !ore i!portantly it is a+out you and !e. All Saints Day answers the 6uestion of what happens to the dead while also as"ing the 6uestion% #hat does it truly !ean to +e the living& #hat does it !ean for us to +e living in 0hrist and for 7od& ,or we heard in the 4etter to 1phesians( the words we presu!e co!e fro! St. .aul hi!self that we have( 28+een destined according to the purpose of hi!8So that we8!ight live for the praise of his glory.5 In another letter of St. .aul s to the 0orinthians( he opens his address( 2$o the church of 7od that is in 0orinth( to those who are sanctified in 0hrist 9esus( called to +e saints( together with all those who in every place call on the na!e of our 4ord 9esus 0hrist( +oth their 4ord and ours8.5 St. .aul refers to the congregation as those who are 2sanctified in 0hrist85 and those who are 2called to +e saints.5 St. .aul na!es each individual (2Hagios5 which is 7ree" for 2set apart( Holy5( and he is not saying that they will +e holy in the future. #e aren t to +e sanctified at a later date. #e aren t going to +eco!e saints at a later date. *ut today( now( in this !o!ent( and forever onward( we have +een and are sanctified and called. #e aren t living lives in hope of sainthood +ut living into a sainthood already +estowed +y the 7race of 7od to the entire +ody of 0hrist. #e are already saints. :ou are a saint. And 7od help !e( I a! a saint too. As I say those words( 27od help !e85 I a! re!inded of !y confir!ation into the 1piscopal 0hurch. During 0onfir!ation( the candidate as well as their sponsors and the entire congregation renew their +aptis!al covenant. It has +eco!e custo!ary to hold +aptis!s on All Saints Day. #e do this to re!ind us that 7od !ade a pro!ise to each of us long ago. In *aptis!( parents and sponsors !a"e a pro!ise on +ehalf of the new+orn. In 0onfir!ation( we reco!!it to that pro!ise on our own. And to !ar" and seal these Holy Sacra!ents( each congregation( each individual is called to renew their +aptis!al covenant. /ne of the 6uestions as"ed is( 2#ill you proclai! +y word and e)a!ple the 7ood ;ews of 7od in 0hrist&5 #e are e)pected to give the response( 2I will( with 7od s help.5 $oday( we are re!inded of our covenant with 7od and that we are in co!!union with all those living and dead who share in that sa!e pro!ise. #hat e)actly is 2the 7ood ;ews of 7od in 0hrist5 that we proclai!& #e are told in our 7ospel reading according to 4u"e. After all( 7ospel !eans 27ood ;ews.5 Hear the words of 9esus( our 0hrist(

2 <*lessed are you when people hate you( and when they e)clude you( revile you( and defa!e you on account of the Son of -an. =e'oice in that day and leap for 'oy( for surely your reward is great in heaven... 5 #e really need 7od s help to ta"e in 9esus who is telling us that the faithful have hope. Hope in the face of an unfair world( hope that ulti!ately 7od provides 'ustice( !ercy( forgiveness( and healing( if not here and now then so!ewhere and so!e ti!e 'ust +eyond this earthly world and our hu!an !ortality. However( 9esus doesn t stop with a !essage of "eeping the faith. 9esus i!!ediately challenges us to deliver on our part of our +aptis!al pro!ise when he continues spea"ing( 2*ut I say to you that listen( 4ove your ene!ies( do good to those who hate you( +less those who curse you( pray for those who a+use you. If anyone stri"es you on the chee"( offer the other also> and fro! anyone who ta"es away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. 7ive to everyone who +egs fro! you> and if anyone ta"es away your goods( do not as" for the! again. Do to others as you would have the! do to you.5 .erhaps at this !o!ent( there is a +it of s6uir!ing in the pews. #e welco!e this !essage of hope and love. #e could listen to that all day. :et after a certain point( listening turns to so!ething else. #e actually start to hear that call of 7od. #e actually start to +elieve that 7od does want so!ething !ore fro! us( wants us to do and not 'ust to listen. I ve heard this call to sainthood +efore and it s frightened !e into saying( 27od help !e35 And every ti!e( 7od has done 'ust that. 7od gives us hope through 0hrist and strength through the 0o!!union of Saints( to live our faith out. #hen this happens( the 7ood ;ews is proclai!ed and our covenant with 7od is "ept. $he words of the 7ospels( the words of 9esus( and the words of 7od could si!ply +e words. *ut we are told that 7od has a living +reath and that 7od s word has the power to spea" things into +eing. At this very !o!ent( 7od does not call us to +eco!e saints +ut si!ply calls us saints. *y doing so( 7od !a"es the 7ospel co!e alive in and through us. St. Augustine said( 2$he difference +etween the 7ospel written and the lives of the saints is the sa!e as the difference +etween !usic written on a page and !usic played out loud.5 So on this All Saints day and every day( let us live the 7ospel. 4et us +e the 7ood ;ews in word and deed. Si!ply( +e the saint that 7od created you to +e and that you already have +eco!e. 9oin with angels and archangels and with all the co!pany of heaven as we sing this hy!n to proclai! the glory of 7od s ;a!e( 2Holy( holy( holy 4ord( 7od of .ower and !ight( heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. *lessed is he who co!es in the na!e of the 4ord. Hosanna in the highest.5 Amen.