All Saints Sunday has become an important and non-negotiable festival in our Lutheran congregations. Observing this festival’s readings, however, breaks up the narrative of the Common Lectionary Sunday readings through the brief remainder of the liturgical Church Year to the end of November.
But through the story of the raising of Lazarus we experience Jesus accompanying us in our sorrow, and we believe that in Christ the power of death will be defeated. The story from the Gospel of Saint John is most detailed as a proclamation of the power of Christ over death.
Christians can trust that the mercy of God will prevail over their own deaths and the death of those they love. So All Saints’ Sunday begins our November liturgies.
We will pray the readings and prayers this year during 9:30am Holy Eucharist, together with our traditional ceremony for the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed.
All Saints’ Sunday St. John 11.32-44 Sunday, November 7
Saint Mark’s final word for this year is the penultimate Sunday of the year, but already, St. Mark plunges into Advent’s birth pangs. Here Jesus preaches his final sermon of peach in the midst of worldly destruction, similar to the earlier stilling of the storm, a word of peace in the midst of natural destruction.
Lectionary 33 St. Mark 13.1-8 Sunday, November 14
Saint John’s gospel gets the final word this year on Christ The King, actually recalling an incident from the Good Friday Passion of Saint John. Since it is now the second half of the Church Year, the preaching will lift up a discipleship focus rather than an incarnation-Redemption emphasis.
Lectionary 34 St. John 18.33-37 Sunday, November 21
Jesus is standing before Pontius Pilate in the Gospel of St. John. Here, the Son of Man, who approaches the throne of the Ancient One, is handing the kingdom over to The One with the appearance of a human, but whose life is eternal, whose kingdom is without boundaries, and whose hands of love encompass al the peoples of the earth.
Amid all the voices of the world, how do we discipline [disciple!] ourselves to listen for the voice of the good shepherd: “I AM the Good Shepherd” St. John 10.
Is this Son of Man person the Immanu-el of Advent?