The Value in Being Connected (All Saints’ Day)

Thy dead shall live, their bodies shall rise.  O dwellers in the dust, awake and sing for joy!  For thy dew is a dew of light, and on the land of the shades thou wilt let it fall.    Isaiah 26:19

An American tourist in Paris, who purchased an inexpensive amber necklace in a street bazaar, was shocked when he had to pay quite a high duty on it to clear customs in New York.  This aroused his curiosity, so he had it appraised.  After looking at the object under a powerful magnifying glass, the jeweler said, “I’ll give you $25,000 for it.”  Greatly surprised, the owner decided to have another expert examine it.  He was offered $35,000!
“What is so valuable about this old necklace?”  asked the astonished owner.
“Look through this glass,” replied the jeweler.  There before his eyes was an inscription: “From Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine.”  Identification with a famous person was what made the necklace enormously valuable.
20th Cent Christian, June 1981, quoted in Pulpit Helps

Something so very ordinary, very inexpensive suddenly is given extraordinary value, simply because it bears the inscription of a key world leader.  Yet really isn’t that what happens so often in our world, something like a piece of paper or a dress suddenly becomes extremely valuable simply because of its connection to someone important.  Sometimes we marvel in amazement at how much value something can have literally overnight.

Yet that is exactly what we are celebrating today as we observe “All Saints’ Day”:  We are discovering all over again the tremendous value something has because of its connection to Someone important.

Really, what else would make us set aside a day in which to honor an 86-year-old grandfather, and a simple housewife, and a fugitive slave boy, and a poor shoemaker, and thousands of other ordinary people who have lived down throughout the many thousands of years that this world has existed?  The key is that each one is connected with a very important Person, and now each individual person’s value take on extraordinary worth, not just in importance here on earth, but in eternal value.

120 years after Christ, the Roman proconsul demanded that the elderly man, Polycarp, must renounce the Lord Jesus, under threat of death by being burned at the stake.  Polycarp’s reply was simple: “Eighty and six years I have served my King who has saved me, and He has never done me wrong; how can I now blaspheme my King?”  The martyrdom of this gentle man served to open the door of heaven to many unbelieving onlookers.   There are people now in heaven because of the connection of this ordinary grandfather to Jesus Christ.

A very obscure housewife in another part of the Roman empire turned to Christ, and attempted to live for Christ in her service to her husband.  She did not try to convert him.  Rather she simply tried to live as if to please her Lord and Savior, but her husband dragged her before the Roman authorities.  Perpetua would not let go of her faith in Christ, and she ended up in the arena, pinned by the horns of a bull.  But this ordinary housewife, connected by faith to Jesus has not been forgotten, not here on earth nor before our Father in heaven.

A 16-year-old boy was captured by pirates and sold to an Irish sheepherder, six years later he escaped back to England, vowing never to set foot on Irish soil again.  Twenty years later, St Patrick mounted a spiritual offensive on the Irish homeland that would literally convert a nation, instilling such a bold faith that many missionaries that reached out into the world were of Irish stock.   An ordinary escaped slave was responsible for generations after generations of believers because of his connection to Jesus Christ.

A poor shoemaker in England, in the 1700’s, felt God calling him into the ministry.  But God didn’t stop there, drawing William Carey further into a greater concern for the whole world.  After speaking to an annual pastors’ meeting on the mission of God’s people, he took hold of the leader of the meeting and asked, “Is there going to be nothing done again, sir?”

That simple concern compelled the group to establish the Baptist Missionary Society, and his continued efforts earned him the title of “the father of modern mission work,” as he himself felt the call to witness in the difficult territory of India.   A simple ordinary man was connected to Someone important and now had a value that just could not be measured.

Brutal death awaited Christians in China during the Boxer rebellion – missionaries, pastors, and ordinary Chinese believers.  But out of that came conversions in the six years that followed, to the tune of 20,000 in one missionary’s area alone.  Korean Christians were terribly tortured by their Japanese conquerors during the Second World War, and Communists virtually wiped out Christianity in North Korea.  Yet in South Korea, even today, many churches have 4 AM prayer meetings for the sake of God’s presence in the continent of Asia.

Ordinary people, whose value has phenomenally been increased because each one bears the mark of the King of the Universe, the cross of Jesus given to them in Baptism.  Ordinary people: husbands, wives, children, parents, store clerks, business executives, housewives, friends; each one used by God to accomplish His purpose on this earth, therefore each one having eternal value. Perhaps the best description of who these people are was given by a little girl, whose only exposure to saints was seeing them portrayed in the stained-glass windows of her church.  One day she was asked by her priest, “What is a saint?”  She answered, “They are people the light shines through.”  That is likely as good a description as we’ll ever get, or need.
[Dorothy Day, as told to Roy Bonisteel, in In Search of Man Alive]

Though, the fact after getting affected viagra online pop over here by erectile dysfunction get increases. Almost every young couples desire to have sex. After the omission of patent protection act over the medicine, some of the companies are producing the same medicine because each person is individual in their symptoms. What is the effect of this poor health? In this you cannot get the proper solution of the problem of intimation by own. What a thrill it is to realize that we are a part of this great train of believers that stretches down through the centuries.  Today we especially realize how even the people we have known in our lifetimes, especially those who have died, be they a parent or spouse or child, a friend or a spiritual teacher, how they too have taken their place before the throne of God and have added their voice to the hymn of praise that will extend throughout eternity; how because of their connection the Lord and Master of the universe, our Savior, that they also now have immeasurable value in all eternity.

But it is hard sometimes to think on such a grand scale.  After all, we seem to be such common, ordinary people, here in a not-very-famous spot on the map of Canada.  How can we, and the people we have known in our lives, be fellow saints in the presence of such powerfully used people as the great saints of old?

And yet the reply comes back is that it is not measured by OUR worth.  GK Chesterton  [Charles Dickens, quoted in Christianity Today, 2/3/89] once emphasized, “It is true that all men are equal, as all [paper] is equal, but [the paper that becomes money gains in tremendous value] when it bears the image of the king.”

That is the thing that makes us distinctive!  In Baptism, God has placed His image on us, we are being recreated in the image of God, we have been marked by the cross of Jesus, these common human elements have been filled by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

That is the essence of the value that any and all Christians have.  An unknown farmer sold a cow to finance a series of revival meetings that produced only one convert.  But that convert was Dwight L. Moody, responsible for many thousands having their place in that great throng around the throne of Jesus Christ in heaven.

How important was that little farmer?  Who even knows his name?  Yet his name is great in the presence of the King.  In the Lord’s hands, look at how powerful was his effect, his importance in the work of Jesus Christ’s People here on this earth!  Again and again, the royal train of the saints who have gone before us, God demonstrates just how much each of us is filled with an importance that reaches out into eternity.

What a confidence is expressed today!  As we think of the great saints of old, the great saints of recent years, and even the unknown saints that have lived all around us, some of whom we have known and enjoyed, many of whom are unknown to us, however each one bearing the mark of Jesus, of His cross and resurrection.

Each one who now stands before the Lord has realized the truth that whatever was done in the Name of the Lord was never done in vain.  Each one has discovered that his whole life, every moment has had eternal significance.  Each one who has died in faith in Jesus Christ stands in the marvelous presence of Jesus and this will never be taken away from him and her.

Does this not give us pause to think again about our lives, about how indeed we live our lives for the Lord?  Just what are we doing with our every moments?  Just what are we doing for the sake of furthering God’s kingdom here in our midst?  Have we realized that we also have such importance because we also bear the image of the King?

Each Communion Sunday, just before the communion, as we join in with the many voices around the throne of Jesus, in the hymn, “Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of pow’r and might…” stand in awe as you hear the voices of all the loved ones who have gone before you, who stand among the great and small saints of old, each one washed in the Blood of the Lamb of God, each one who has handed sins and self over to our Lord in repentance, each one singing with us the praises of our Savior.

And then also stand in awe, as they and every one of us has been filled with such eternal value through the forgiveness and resurrection of Jesus, each one having an honored place within the grand design of the Lord, whether one is a janitor or an executive, whether one has a small circle of friends and family or speaks before thousands, each one part of the great throng which no man can number worshipping our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier in the joy and  pleasure of His presence.

And now, with the help of the Holy Spirit that fills our human elements with God’s power, then let us determine to go into our lives realizing that everything we also do is something that has the stamp of the King, a value because of its connection to Him, with untold significance for this world and for all eternity.

Truly, in the household of God, there are no such things as ordinary Christians.

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