All Saints Service of Remembrance

Oct 30, 2022

Montavilla & Tabor Heights United Methodist Churches

Rev Heather Riggs

Luke 6:20-31
20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours
is the kingdom of God. 21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22 “Blessed are you when people
hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the
Son of Man. 23 Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in
heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. 24 “But woe to you who are
rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 “Woe to you who are full now, for you will
be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26 “Woe to
you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
27 “But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. 29 If anyone strikes you on
the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not
withhold even your shirt. 30 Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes
away your goods, do not ask for them again. 31 Do to others as you would have them do
to you.

(slide 1: Blessed are those who mourn)
“Blessed are those who Mourn, for they will be comforted,” is from Matthew
Today’s reading is from Luke’s version of this iconic sermon, which says
basically the same thing, just a little differently, “Blessed are you who weep
now, for you will laugh.”
The small differences in the two versions of this sermon provide a good
illustration of how the Bible was written. The word of mouth memories of
what was said were told to others, who shared them with others, who
eventually wrote them down. Then the authors of the gospels of Luke and

Matthew edited the various versions they had available to them into their
best guess of what Jesus really said, which was influenced by their own
theological biases – the author of Luke cares a lot about social justice, so
he wrote “blessed are the poor,” while the author of Matthew decided to
write, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” And then, the gospels were copied
and shared and copies were made of copies, and translations made of
copies and when the New Testament was being officially formed, other
editors took the various versions of the gospels of Matthew and Luke and
did their best to come up with a definitive version of each gospel. Then
they were translated some more – and translation is never a direct word to
word process because different languages have different grammars and
different idiomatic sayings which means the translators have to make
theological choices about what was being said. And this is why when we
read the Bible in English the different English translations don’t agree with
one another and different versions of the same story are not exactly the
This is why Methodists take the Bible seriously, not literally!
There is really no such thing as a literal version of the Bible.

So it’s helpful to take one or two or five steps back from each individual
word of any given verse and not get too concerned about whether we’re
talking about mourning or weeping, or comfort or laughter and look at the
overarching themes of the sermon on the Mount or the Plain.

First of all, look at whom Jesus is calling Blessed.
Most of us would not consider ourselves “blessed” when we are:
● Poor
● Hungry
● Weeping or mourning

● Hated
● Excluded
● Reviled
● Or defamed
Generally, when we call ourselves blessed, it’s because something good
has happened to us. Like, I’m so blessed to have such great children or
grandkids. Or. I’m so blessed to have an affordable mortgage in this crazy
housing market. Usually we call ourselves blessed when we have the
things that Jesus is proclaiming Woe about! The authors and editors of
Luke write that Jesus declares Woe to:
● The rich
● The well fed
● Those who are laughing now
● Those who are well spoken of…
What the heck Jesus???!!!
I think part of what is going on here is that Jesus often said things that had
a fair amount of shock value. Most of Jesus’ parables were pretty shocking
to their original audience, we’ve just become used to them.
Another part of what’s going on in this strange passage is that the author of
Luke has a theology of the Kingdom of God that is woven all through Luke
and Acts. This theology can be summarized in the idea that God cares
about those who are in need and God is fed up with those who are profiting
off of harming others.

Blessed are those who Mourn.
The past few years have been so hard.
So many of us are still mourning what we have lost.
Mourning people who have died.

Mourning the loss of things we used to do.
Mourning the impact of the pandemic on our churches.
Mourning the damage done to relationships by polarizing views.
Mourning our own exhaustion from dealing with one crisis after another,
after another, after another.
What I hear Jesus saying in “blessed are those who mourn or weep for
they will be comforted or will laugh again,” what I hear Jesus saying to us
when he calls us “blessed” is that we are not alone in our suffering.
God hears us.
God sees us.
God is with us in our mourning to comfort us and bring us into laughter
once again.

And… And…
God also hears the cries of the poor and hungry.
God sees the growing numbers of people on our streets.

God also sees the companies who are making record profits continuing to
raise prices on essentials like food and fuel.
God also sees the rich and popular laughing their way to their offshore
bank accounts.
But just as we are tempted to channel our woe into righteous rage, Jesus
challenges us to love our enemies.
To, “do good to those who hate you,
28 bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.”
This whole passage is deeply unsettling, isn’t it!
First Jesus tells us we’re blessed when bad things happen to us.

Then Jesus tells us that being rich, popular and well thought of, is a bad
Now Jesus tells us that we need to love the people who are making bad
things happen to us??!!!
This is not an easy or comfortable teaching.
It’s an apocalypse, in the original Greek meaning of the word apocalypse.
It’s a revelation of what it really means to follow Jesus.
(slide 2:
● God is with us
● Woe to oppressors
● Love our enemies)

● To trust that God is with us when times are hard.
● To recognize that God is not happy with those who oppress others for
● To be people who practice Love, even in the face of hate.
Authentic faith is not easy. Love is not easy.
But God does not ask us to be perfect. And God promises to be with us –
to bless us in the midst of what is hard.
(slide 3: Light a candle for those you have lost. Dissolve an enemy’s
name in the baptismal font.
For our spiritual practice today, we’re going to take some time to mourn the
people and things we have lost and to pray for our enemies that we may
better love them.
You’re invited to come forward to light a candle of remembrance for those
whom we have lost in the past few years. There’s no limit on how many or

if they are a church member or not. You’re welcome to write their names
on the paper if that’s meaningful for you.
You’re also invited to write the name or action of an enemy on a piece of
dissolving paper and drop it in the baptismal font – the symbol of God’s
Grace and forgiveness as a prayer for our own ability to respond to
injustice in loving ways.

One Order of Worship for Montavilla and Tabor Heights
Items in red not to be printed in bulletin or go on screen.
Call to Worship
Out of the Depths we Cry to You
O Lord, now hear us calling
These past few years have been a lot
Incline your ear to our distress
We have lost friends and family
We Cry to you, O Lord
6.57 Million people have died of COVID
We Cry to you, O Lord
We witnessed George Floyd die
We Cry to you, O Lord
Poverty and houselessness are everywhere we look
We Cry to you, O Lord
Corporations make record profits while we struggle to afford groceries and gas
We Cry to you, O Lord
Climate Change threatens our very existence
We Cry to you, O Lord
Neighbors and families are divided by politics
We Cry to you, O Lord
Small comforts like potlucks and hugs have become calculated risks
We Cry to you, O Lord
We wait for you Lord; my soul waits,

and in God’s Grace we hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
H.A.Riggs and Psalm 130

Hymn “Out of the Depths I Cry to You” 515 Blue
Scripture Luke 6:20-31
Message Blessed Are Those Who Mourn
Candle Lighting & Special Music
Light a candle for those you have lost.
Write their name on the list of losses if you choose.
Write the name of an enemy or action on dissolving paper and place it in the Baptismal
Special music during Candle Lighting. Set up a table at floor level with votive candles
and one candle to light from. Bamboo skewers to use to light. Jars of sand to
extinguish bamboo skewers into. Have a sheet of good paper to write the names of our
beloved dead… maybe 2 tables one with candles and one with list? Baptismal font,
melting paper, place to write and colored pencils for loving our enemies.
Hymn soft entrance into hymn as people are wrapping up their ritual time
“The Lord’s Prayer” 3071 Green
Pastoral Prayer
Eternal God,
We praise you for the great company of all those
who have finished their course in faith
And now rest from their labor.
We praise you for those dear to us
Whom we name in our hearts before you.
To all of these
whom you have graciously received into your presence,
grant your peace.
Let perpetual light shine upon them;
And help us so to believe where we have not seen,

That your presence may lead us through our years,
And bring us at last with them
Into the joy of your home
Not made with hands but eternal in the heavens;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

We believe giving is a spiritual practice. A way of prioritizing compassion over
consumption. Many people have less than enough these days, so please do not give
what you cannot afford. You may give by You may give by mailing a check, dropping a
check in the plate at the back of the church, or… (Tabor Heights: using our Paypal link)
(Montavila: setting up regular payments with your bank.)
Being the Church Update
Montavilla: Halloween Blood Drive Slide Show
Tabor Heights: ??
1. Charge Conference
a. Montavilla: Sunday, Nov 20 6pm (potluck at 5pm)
b. Tabor Heights: Tuesday, Nov 22, 5:30pm
2. ?
3. ?
Offering Prayer
God of love, we thank you
for all with which you have blessed us even to this day:
for the gift of joy in days of health and strength
and for the gifts of your abiding presence and promise in days of pain and grief.
We praise you for home and friends,
and for baptism and place in your Church with all who have faithfully lived and died. We
dedicate our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness as a grateful offering for all
you have given us. Amen.
Hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” 92 Blue vs 1,2, 4, 6
The peace of God which passes all understanding
keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God.

And the blessing of God Almighty, the Creator, Jesus the Christ and the Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always, Amen.