November 5, 2023 - All Saints Sunday

For the week of November 5-11 – All Saints Sunday – 23rd Sunday after Pentecost

Morning Prayer Almighty God, in Your keeping there is shelter from the storm, and in Your mercy there is comfort for the sorrows of life. Hear now our prayers for us who mourn and are heavy laden. Give to us the strength to bear and do Your will. Lighten our darkness with Your love. Enable us to see beyond the things of this mortal world holding on to the promise of the eternal. Help us to know that Your care enfolds all Your people, You are our refuge and strength. Amen. (UM Book of Worship – adapted)

Hymn: #378 Amazing Grace

  1. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found; was blind, but now I see.

  1. ‘Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved;

How precious did that grace appear the hour I first believed.

  1. Through many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;

‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.

  1. The Lord has promised good to me, His word my hope secures;

He will my shield and portion be, and long as life endures.

  1. Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,

I shall possess, within the veil, a life of joy and peace.

  1. When we’ve been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun,

We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise than when we’d first begun.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 

He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil;
For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.

Remembering our Saints


Living God, our Guide and Guardian, Who sits on the throne and delivers us into eternal life, we give You thanks for the saints of every time, tribe, and tongue who now rest in the shelter of Your embrace. We set aside this moment to remember those saints who are dear and precious to us who have died and entered into glory during the last twelve months.

Ken Broadt             Ruth Hess               Ed Campbell           Flora “Ann” Cook

Jim Keller               Regina Dent           Marge Kisner          Donna Farver

We bless You for the life and love of these dear saints, and rejoice for them that they have entered into the fullness of life in Your presence.

We also remember those saints who we hold in our hearts who have not been with us for some time, yet whose life and witness continue to form and shape us as Your disciples. We honor them now by lifting their names aloud or in our hearts.

On this All Saints Sunday, we also remember that we too are living saints, members of the family of God with all the saints of the past, the present, and the future. And so, we remember:

We are God's children. What we shall be has not yet been revealed; but we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. So today and every day, may we put on Christ and live as saints who tend the poor, comfort the mourners, learn from the meek, affirm those who seek righteousness, offer mercy alongside the merciful, and work for peace with the peacemakers until Christ comes in final victory and we feast as the family of God at His heavenly banquet. Amen.

Children’s Time Hebrews 12:1-3 A Great Cloud of Witnesses

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken His seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such hostility against Himself from sinners, so that you may not grow weary or lose heart.

Children’s Message

Have you ever won a trophy or a medal for something? (Allow time for responses.) When we think of medals, we often think of the Olympics – gold, silver, and bronze. One of my favorite things to watch in the Olympics are the track races where people run faster than anyone else in the world!

Several years ago when the Olympics were held in Barcelona, Spain, the world saw one of the greatest moments in Olympic history. A young man named Derek Redmond had dreamed all his life of winning a gold medal in the 400 meter race. He had worked hard to get to the Olympics and his dream was within his reach. He was in the semi-finals and was running the race of his life. He could see the finish line just ahead as he rounded the final turn. Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg and he fell to the track with a torn muscle in his right leg.

Derek struggled to his feet and started to hop toward the finish line on one foot in an attempt to finish the race. (Hop on one leg.) Suddenly, a large man came out of the stands, pushed aside a security guard and ran to Derek's side. It was Derek's father, Jim Redmond. "You don't have to do this," he told his son. "Yes, I do," said Derek. "Well, then," said his father, "we're going to finish this together."

And they did. They stayed in Derek's lane all the way to the end. At first, the crowd watched in silence. Then they rose to their feet and cheered -- and wept.

Derek Redmond didn't win the gold medal, but he walked away with the incredible memory of a loving father who, when he saw his son in pain, left his seat in the stands to help him finish the race.

Our Bible lesson today describes a race that you and I are running that is even bigger and more important than the Olympics. In Hebrews we learn that, "Since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses, let us run the race that God has set before us. Throw aside anything that will slow you down. Keep your eyes on Jesus." What is this race that we have before us? It is the race of following the example that Jesus set for us and expects us to follow as one of His disciples. It is a race of obedience to God's Word and faithfulness to Jesus' call to "Follow me." (Hebrews 12:1-2)

Life is like a race that has been set before us. We may struggle and face many obstacles, but we have a great crowd of witnesses who are cheering us on. We have a Heavenly Father who loves us and will help us when the pain is too great. We have a Savior, who left His place in heaven and came to earth to show us how to run the race. If we will keep our eyes on Him, how can we help but finish the race?

Dear Jesus, sometimes life is difficult. Help us to keep our eyes on You and to run the race that is before us. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.(

Prayers of Intercession:  Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers for those dear to our hearts.  We now pray as You have taught us: Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us, not into temptation but deliver us from evil.  For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.  Amen. 

Offering spotlight: Ronald McDonald House staff and residents are beyond grateful for the care shown to them by providing an occasional meal and loading up their pantry with snacks.  We have been supporting their work for 30 years.  Additionally, $250 of your missions offering is sent to the Ronald McDonald House of Care in Danville. 

Offering prayer: God of all generations, as we worship today, we offer our whole selves to You, all that we have and all that we are. Like Your saints who have gone before us, we pray that You will help us to be bold in our mission and in our witness. May we who have been given so much give freely, ministering in Your compassion to the multitudes near and far, so that one day, we may stand amid the multitude that gathers at Your heavenly throne. We pray this in the name of our Savior and Redeemer, Christ our Lord. Amen.  (Discipleship Ministries)

Hymn: #77 How Great Thou Art

  1. Lord my God! When I in awesome wonder consider all the worlds Thy hands have made,

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Refrain: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art!

  1. When through the woods and forest glades I wander,

and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees;

When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook,

and feel the gentle breeze; Refrain:

  1. And when I think that God, His Son nor sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

That on the cross, my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin; Refrain:

  1. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation and take me home,

what joy shall fill my heart.  Then I shall bow in humble adoration,

and there proclaim, my God, how great Thou art! Refrain:

Message: What Do You Need to Hear?           Pastor Becky

We come to this morning with mixed emotions: sorrow for those who have died and are no longer physically present with us and thanksgiving for their eternal life with Jesus and the promise for us of being reunited with them in the life to come.

We are all in different places with our grief and no one place is better or worse than another. Grief is an expression of love unbestowed, a love pent up, waiting to be given and until we can, we bear this inward pain. We recognize there is never enough time, yet in eternity with Jesus we will have all time. Maybe we will share or are already sharing tears with each other this morning, and above all else, I want you to know this is ok, never apologize for tears.

When I began working on this week’s message, I started from the place I start from for funeral messages. What do you need to hear? What is it that will be helpful as you begin to process the death of your loved one? We will share stories and what you want me to lift up as defining characteristics of your loved one and then it is my work to affirm your loved one’s life through the lens of scripture. When it’s available, I like to look through their Bible. Our personal Bibles are a treasure trove of their thoughts, their notes, poems collected, and newspaper clippings about their family and friends. It gives me a glimpse of their heart and what they held dear in the walk with Jesus and with you, their families.

If I tried to quiz you the day after the funeral about what I said, you would assure me it was a wonderful representation of your loved one’s life and that you were comforted. But I know the reality, in the moment, you were just looking for one word or two to hold on to, just to get through that day; praise God, you did. Now we come to today, the day we remember our saints and here is a sampling of the scriptures I would have shared with you:

*Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will affliction or distress or persecution or famine or nakedness or peril or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long;
we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39

*Precious in the sight of the LorD is the death of His faithful ones. Psalm 116:15

*Here is a call for the endurance of the saints, those who keep the commandments of God and hold fast to the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord.” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them.” Revelation 14:12-13

*Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” “I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you also will live. “I have said these things to you while I am still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid. John 14, selected verses

Yet there is a problem, I am limited, I can’t not be everywhere, even when I desire to be. My desire is to be shielding you from something you did NOT need to hear. This happens without fail, someone, as well meaning or comforting as they believe they are, will say something you didn’t need to hear. Here are some of my least favorite examples (I’ve been collecting these over the years, so I could develop a counter to them when I actually hear these words spoken):

God needed another angel.

God wanted another rose for His garden.

This is all part of God’s plan. (This is something we believe in the big picture, but in the moment we can only see this small part and it doesn’t make it better-only time allows us to see the plan.)

I can’t even imagine what you are feeling. (This may actually be the worst, because a truer statement is I don’t want to imagine what you are feeling. Because, if we have any bit of a heart and some imagination, we can imagine. All we are admitting at the moment is that we have the luxury and privilege to not have to.)

SO… what can we say?

I think we go back to the book of Job. Not to see how Job reacted to the tragedies that befell him, but to look at his friends’ response.

Now when Job’s three friends heard of all these troubles that had come upon him, each of them set out from his home—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. They met together to go and console and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him, and they raised their voices and wept aloud; they tore their robes and threw dust in the air upon their heads. They sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great. Job 2:11-13

Job’s friends show up and take their place beside him. They assume the grieving position and place themselves firmly in the moment and say NOTHING for 7 days. They realize the moment they see Job, there is nothing they can say. Their presence with him and our presence with someone in their grief speaks louder than any words.

There is something else we should notice, it is only once they begin talking do they get themselves in trouble with Job and with God.

*Think now, who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. Job 4:7-8

*If you will seek God and make supplication to the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, surely then He will rouse Himself for you and restore to you your rightful place. Job 8:5-6

*Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves. Job 11:6b

If you are familiar with Job, you will remember that Job was merely a pawn in a test between God and Satan. Job’s friends nor Job know anything about what is happening except that it is happening to Job. So everything the friends say isn’t the truth. Like them, we don’t know all the moving parts of why things happen or how they happen, we just know that they do. Going back to their initial response to Job’s grief, and being present is the most Christlike thing we can do and then respond with a simple, heartfelt “I’m sorry” and sit with them in silence. In the silence, God will reveal God’s self.

Hymn: #707 Hymn of Promise

  1. In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree;

In cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter there’s a spring that waits to be,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

  1. There’s a song in every silence, seeking word and melody;

There’s a dawn in every darkness, bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future; what it holds, a mystery,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

  1. In our end is our beginning; in our time, infinity;

In our doubt there is believing; in our life, eternity,

In our death, a resurrection; at the last, a victory,

Unrevealed until its season, something God alone can see.

Go into your week with the blessings of The Father, The Son, The Holy Spirit.