21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
5 And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” 6 And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.
Today is All Saints’ Day. It is a day on the church calendar that is designed to remember those who have gone on before. In Hebrews 12, the author writes about the great cloud of witnesses – these are those who have gone on before – who are cheering us on in our life of faith.
This morning before going to work, I was listening and watching the news. I was getting quite disgusted with that and the bombardment of political ads. The ads here in Western NY (we get our news from Buffalo, so all the ads are for candidates from Western NY) have really been nasty. I knew that this morning was All Saint’s Day, so I looked up the scriptures in order to write the devotional. That’s when I came across the scripture that comes from Revelation.
This morning’s scripture is a reminder of the hope that we have in Jesus Christ. I love the hope that we have that we to will join the great cloud of witnesses – in a world where sin does not exist. I believe in many ways, that is the meaning that the sea was gone. The sea in ancient times was where evil existed – where sin existed. John tells us that the sea is gone – so is sin – so is sorrow – and pain – and death – and crying. We are told that in the new heaven and new earth, all those things are gone.
Today this post is in memory of the saints who have gone on before. My friend Mark Wilson once said,
“Here’s the best definition of a saint I have ever heard: A saint is someone whose life makes it easier for others to believe in Jesus.”
Several weeks ago, we said our final earthly good-byes to one of our congregation. Today Merle is experiencing what it means to be in the presence of Jesus. I know how much I miss him and I can only imagine how much his family misses him. But today he is part of the great cloud of witnesses and he knows first hand about the absence of sorrow and pain and death.
Saints are people who can wield incredible influence. I know that my own Grammy and Pop, were influencers in my life.
Two more people in my life who are now witnesses are Dick and Shirley Christman. They were Pam’s mom and dad. Pam’s dad was a pastor and evangelist and her mom kept the home fires burning. Their legacy continues to live on in their children and their children.
Last year on Facebook, I posted a quote from Pope Francis
Dear friends, the world needs saints and we are all called to holiness without exception. Don’t be afraid!
To close out the post today, I want to share Tommy Walker’s “All the Saints Join In.” A great song of praise as we remember those who have gone on before.