Of all three years of the lectionary cycle, this year’s All Saints readings have the most tears. Isaiah and Revelation look forward to the day when God will wipe away all tears; in John’s gospel, Jesus weeps along with Mary and all the gathered mourners before he demonstrates his power over death. On All Saints Day we celebrate the victory won for all the faithful dead, but we grieve for our beloved dead as well, knowing that God honors our tears. We bring our grief to the table and find there a foretaste of Isaiah’s feast to come.
Prayer of the Day
Almighty God, you have knit your people together in one communion in the mystical body of your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Grant us grace to follow your blessed saints in lives of faith and commitment, and to know the inexpressible joys you have prepared for those who love you, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
First Reading: Isaiah 25:6-9
Isaiah sees a vision of the end of days, when the Lord will gather all God’s people on God’s holy mountain and will prepare for them a rich feast. At this banquet the Lord will wipe the tears from all eyes. And there will be no more sorrow, for God will destroy death itself.
6On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wines, of rich food filled with marrow, of well-aged wines strained clear. 7And he will destroy on this mountain the shroud that is cast over all peoples, the sheet that is spread over all nations; 8he will swallow up death forever. Then the Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces, and the disgrace of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the Lord has spoken. 9It will be said on that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, so that he might save us. This is the Lord for whom we have waited; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.
Psalm: Psalm 24
They shall receive blessing from the God of their salvation. (Ps. 24:5)
1The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world and those who dwell therein. 2For the Lord has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. 3Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord, and who may stand in God’s holy place? 4Those of innocent hands and purity of heart, who do not swear on God’s being, nor do they pledge by what is false. 5They shall receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of their salvation. 6Such is the generation of those who seek you, O Lord, of those who seek your face, O God of Jacob. 7Lift up your heads, O gates; and be lifted up, O everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. 8Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! 9Lift up your heads, O gates; and be lifted up, O everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. 10Who is this King of glory? Truly, the Lord of hosts is the King of glory.
Second Reading: Revelation 21:1-6a
Here is a vision of the new heaven and new earth in which God resides fully with God’s people so that mourning, despair, and pain have been eradicated. These renewing words from the God who spans all of time are trustworthy and true.
1I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them; 4he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” 5And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6aThen he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
Gospel: John 11:32-44
Through the raising of Lazarus, Jesus offers the world a vision of the life to come, when death and weeping will be no more.
32When 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.” 33When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. 34He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” 35Jesus began to weep. 36So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” 37But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
38Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39Jesus 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.” 40Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” 41So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42I 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.” 43When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44The 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.”