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All Saints Day, Cycle C

November 1 or the First Sunday in November

As we pause to remember those loved by us who have died during the past twelve months or within the scope of our memories, we turn to the inspired writers of each of the texts selected for this occasion. Shall we not also on this All Saints’ Day worship God with these writers, along with all whom we remember who have lived among us? Let us boldly worship God as God is perceived within Christianity, as Creator Father of Jesus and of all of us throughout the expanse of time and space, as Redeeming Son, the Risen Christ our Savior, and as Loving, Active, Sustaining Spirit, continuously involved in our lives. Let us acclaim the saints of all times and places, and let us worship God as God is revealed to us, with no limitations or reservations.

Psalm 149

The reason for the selection of this psalm for this occasion was probably the reference to the assembly of the faithful in 149:1 and the cry “Let those who are faithful rejoice triumphantly in glory” in 149:5. The reading should be limited, however, to 149:1-5 to avoid the use of the holy war command for violence and vengeance that is in 149:6-9a.

Daniel 7:1-3, 15-18

Together with the oppressed of ancient Israel and with all others oppressed up to the present time, we share in joyful anticipation the hope expressed in this apocalyptic text that soon the oppressed saints of the Most High will receive and possess the kingdom. The text reminds us that apocalyptic literature is not merely other-worldly and theological; it is also this-worldly and political. This text reminds us also that our emphasis on this All Saints’ Day occasion must be both a joyful anticipation of release from suffering and a powerful protest against economic, political, social, and spiritual oppression in our time and place.

Ephesians 1:11-23

In this portion of the blessing section of this epistle the Pauline writer was assuring those who would read the document that both Jewish-background followers of Jesus and non-Jewish-background followers of Jesus would share in the glorious inheritance of the saints. The amazing power and grace of God are said to have been shown both in the raising of Jesus from the dead as Lord and Christ and in the sealing of both Jewish and non-Jewish background followers of Jesus with the promised Holy Spirit of God.

Luke 6:20-31

With the insights that have come from oppressed Christians in Latin America, Africa, Asia, and elsewhere during recent decades, we recognize that the sense of Luke 6:20 is probably “Blessed are you who are oppressed (rather than merely poor), for the kingdom of God belongs to you!” “Poor” is the more general sense of the Greek word πτωχοι used here; “oppressed” is the more specific. Those who are oppressed are also always poor, since the oppressors take everything from them. People who are oppressed economically, politically, socially, and spiritually are always hungry and lacking of adequate shelter, clothing, and medical care, and they often weep bitter tears of helplessness.

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Authors of
Lectionary Scripture Notes
Norman A. Beck is the Poehlmann Professor of Theology and Classical Languages and the Chairman of the Department of Theology, Philosophy, and Classical Languages at Texas Lutheran University
Dr. Norman A. Beck
Mark Ellingsen is professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia
Dr. Mark Ellingsen