A sermon for All Souls

2 Thess 2.1-5, 13-17; Luke 20.27-38

(This sermon was preached  especially to the children.)

What is this? A pumpkin
Anything special about it? It has a face carved into it.
When do we see this sort of Pumpkin? At Hallowe’en.
When was that? Last Monday
Anybody go trick or treating? (I had three lots of trick or treaters calling)

So what is Hallowe’en all about? It is the day or rather the evening) before All Saints’ Day, sometimes called All Hallows (like our church)
Do you know what the day AFTER All Hallows is called? It is called All Souls Day.
This is the day when Christians especially remember family members and others who have died.

It is very natural to be sad when someone you love dies. But the great Apostle Saint Paul, in one of his letters, tells us that, although we may be sad, we should not be without hope. Every Sunday, we all stand up in Church and say, “We look forward to the Resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.”

Unlike some other people, we know that, if we follow Jesus and trust in him, when we die we go to be with him; and just as he rose from the dead on Easter Day, he has promised the same for us when he comes back to set the whole world to rights.

In today’s Gospel story, Jesus was arguing with people who didn’t believe this, who thought the whole idea was ridiculous, and wanted to make it look ridiculous. Jesus told them that they were WRONG. No-one dies in God’s eyes, but when in our eyes they pass away, they are safe with him. And when Jesus returns, they will return with him- WE will return with him.

To people who don’t believe and trust in Jesus, dying seems frightening and terrible. It is called “The Last Enemy”. But Jesus is stronger than death itself, he is alive for ever.

And that (partly) is why we have Hallowe’en, with witches and skeletons and all things other people connect with death. AND WE LAUGH AT THEM, we make fun of them, and make scary heads out of pumpkins . Death is not something we should be afraid of. Yes, we may be afraid of illness or pain. Jesus was afraid of the things leading up to death, the cruel things the soldiers did to him. But he was not afraid of dying, because he was going back to his heavenly Father.

The month of November is the month the Church especially remembers those we call “the Faithful departed”, all the people who have finished their earthly lives, and now wait in heaven for the new heaven and the new earth which God has promised. We pray with them, and for them, as they do for us.