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All Saints' Day | 11/01/2020

Introduction to the Word and Liturgy for Worship

The Scripture focus for our worship this week is Psalm 149, Matthew 5:1-12, and a splash of Ephesians 1:18. Since the Ephesians reading is last in that list, it will be first in our preparation. Here is text: "having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints." This is the substance of St. Paul's prayer for the disciples, or saints (Eph. 1:1), in Ephesus (see Eph. 1:16-17).

Commenting on verse 18, John Stott writes the following encouraging summary (bold text added):

If God’s "call" [v. 18a, "the hope to which he has called you"] points back to the beginning of our Christian life, God’s "inheritance" points on to its end, to that final inheritance of which the Holy Spirit is the guarantee (verse 14) and which Peter describes as "imperishable, undefiled and unfading, kept in heaven for you". For God’s children are God’s heirs, in fact "fellow heirs with Christ", and one day by his grace the inheritance will be ours. Exactly what it will be like is beyond our capacity to imagine. So we shall be wise not to be too dogmatic about it. Nevertheless certain aspects of it have been revealed in the New Testament, and we shall not go wrong if we hold fast to these. We are told that we shall "see" God and his Christ, and worship him; that this "beatific" vision will be a transforming vision, for "when he appears we shall be like him", not only in body but in character; and that we shall enjoy perfect fellowship with each other. For God’s inheritance (the inheritance he gives us) will not be a little private party for each individual but rather "among the saints" as we join that "great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb". Paul does not regard it as presumptuous that we should think about our heavenly inheritance or even anticipate it with joy and gratitude. On the contrary, he prays that we may "know it", the "glory" of it, indeed, "the riches of the glory" of it.

The Collect of the Day

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of your Son: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

The Word:

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Psalm 149

1 Praise the Lord. O sing unto the Lord a new song; *

let the congregation of the faithful praise him.

2 Let Israel rejoice in the one who made him, *

and let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

3 Let them praise his Name in the dance; *

let them sing praises unto him with timbrel and harp.

4 For the Lord has pleasure in his people *

and gives victory to those who are oppressed.

5 Let the faithful be joyful with glory; *

let them rejoice upon their beds.

6 Let the praises of God be in their mouth *

and a two-edged sword in their hands,

7 To inflict vengeance on the nations, *

and to rebuke the peoples,

8 To bind their kings in chains, *

and their nobles with links of iron,

9 That they may execute judgment upon them, as it is written; *

this is the honor of all his servants. Praise the Lord.

(from the New Coverdale Psalter as found in the 2019 Book of Common Prayer)