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The Father’s Love

Scripture - 1 John 3:1-3

Today is All Saints’ Day. All Saints’ Day is usually overshadowed by the day right before it: Halloween. Halloween has been so commercialized that its original meaning & anticipation of All Saints’ Day has been lost. Halloween has deteriorated into another holiday in western culture where stores sell themed candy, children expect things

handed to them for free, & adults feel the pressure for their child to have a “Pinterest perfect” costume. All Saints’ Day has been lost in a sugar high from all the candy consumed the night before & Jimmy Kimmel videos of parents pretending to eat all of their children’s candy. So, what happened? Where did All Saints’ Day come from & what is its connection to Halloween?

Halloween is actually three words all smushed together: All Hallows Evening. It was a night where some would pray loudly in the forest & ring church bells to remember those who died for their faith. All Saints’ Day is to celebrate & commemorate those who have gone before us. It is a day set aside specifically to remember the saints of the church who poured out their lives for God & others; some to the point of death.

The saints of the church lived out a deep love for God. They did not live for their own glory or exultation but lived so that God would be lifted high & the gospel proclaimed. All Saints’ Day does not exist to elevate the saints to divinity, but it reminds people that all the glory belongs to God. It serves as a reminder that out of the outpouring of God’s love people cannot help but spread the gospel.

1 John 3:1-3 reads: See what kind of love the Father has given to us in that we should be called God’s children, & that is what we are! Because the world didn’t recognize him, it doesn’t recognize us.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children, & it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is. And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is pure.

The Greek word used for has given is dedōken. It is a verb that means that this love was given in the past but is still active & effective in the present.

Imagine God in heaven with a bottomless bucket containing God’s love. God has given this love to us & as a result we are absolutely drenched! Every fiber of our being is saturated by God’s love to the point where we cannot help but draw attention to ourselves. As we begin to walk around, we get others wet; we cannot help it. Some around us are drawn to this love while others are repelled & annoyed by it. Some people are so annoyed that we are put to death for the love that we share.

That is God’s amazing love. We cannot help but spread such love. It is a countercultural love & a love that the saints who have gone before us lived out. For some it ended in their death, for some they never saw the fruit of their love, & for some they lived long lives pouring out love to others without any expectation of anything in return. These are the saints who have gone before us & lived out the love that was given to them by God. They ran the race before us, they handed us the baton, they are our great cloud of witnesses, & they are cheering us on. We need to remember that we are not alone. We have these amazing examples to follow. They lived out of the overflowing love given to them by God.

May we be found faithful. May we live out God’s love in this world no matter how counter-cultural, no matter the consequences, & may we humbly follow the way paved by the saints who went before us.

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