Who are these? (All Saints 2010)

Todd A. Peperkorn, STM

Messiah Lutheran Church

Kenosha, Wisconsin

All Saints’ Day (transferred to Nov. 7, 2010)

Revelation 7:2-17

allsaints2010

TITLE: “Who are these?”

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.  Our text for All Saints Day is from Revelation chapter seven.  We focus on St. John’s question to the angel:  Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?

Some years are more focused on death than others.  This past year here at Messiah, we’ve only had one member of our church family who died in Christ, namely, Sandra Russo.  There have been other years where there have been more, sometimes as many as half a dozen.  But whether we’re talking about one person or half a dozen, there is almost always going to be a fair amount of the congregation that are going to ask the question: who was that person?

It is amazing sometimes how often we can sit together in church, receive Christ’s body and blood together, and look forward to an eternity in heaven with each other’s company, and yet barely know each other’s names.  Or perhaps you know a name, but barely anything beyond that.  Yet each one of you have a life, a history, a family, you have a sense of belonging and place here in Christ’s Church.  It’s just that we sometimes don’t know each others stories.

But there is something about death which raises the question, who are you?  What makes you who you are?  What is important to you and defines you day in, day out?  On a day like today, when we look back at the saints who have gone before, this is an important question.  How are you different from everyone else in the world?  What shapes your very life?

Now when you get right down to it, this is the question which St. John is asking in our text.  St. John is having a vision of heaven.  He sees the host arrayed in white, as we sang about it a few minutes ago in our hymn (TLH 656).  This host, this army dressed in white, come from every tribe and language, every p