The Veil of the Liturgy Lifted – thoughts for All Saints’ Day

“Seeing the crowds, He went up on the mountain, and when He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and taught them.” – Matthew 5:1-2

Here in these verses is contained all the works and majesty and mercy of God. The Lord looks down from heaven and sees all the children of men; from where He sits enthroned He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth. He who fashions the hearts of us all and observes all our deeds. (Ps. 33:13-15) And observing the crowds, the multitude of men, women, and children who populate the earth and toil and spin in vain, working for righteousness by their deeds and morals, working for prosperity in created things such as silver and gold, working toward immortality by vain efforts of heroism and epitaphs of glorious deeds of valor and strength; the Lord looks upon the multitude and has pity and compassion. For He is a God of compassion.

For when He looks out upon the multitude He sees that their works are like rags and that they are as sheep without a shepherd. He looks and sees that there are none who seek after God and none who do good (Ps. 14:2; 53:2) and so He acts on our behalf.

He went up the mountain.

As the eternal sage and wise man, He went up the mountain of wisdom and knowledge so that He could teach the people from the mountain of God, from the mouth of God. Only the lesson is not like the lessons of men and the instruction is not like the instruction of men. For God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. So it is that in ascending the mountain He descended to earth. For who has descended accept the one who ascended? In ascending the mountain He was brought low to a stable that He might ascend the mountain called Calvary to teach the mercy of God; that He would ascend the hill called Golgotha that we would learn the lesson of life. The Lord went up the mountain to pray for sinners and teach them the ways of God, which are ways of mercy and grace and lead to eternal life. The Lord went up the mountain to do for men what we could not do for ourselves. He went up the mountain to obey the Father, to be obedient unto death. He went up the mountain that He might be the pinnacle of humanity and the leader of the human race.

And having accomplished everything His Father commanded, having made purification for sin and having offered for all time the single sacrifice for sin, having been lifted up by sinners as the pure and undefiled Lamb of God (Jn. 8:28) that takes away the sin of the world, He was then lifted up from the earth by God, and sat down at the right hand the majesty on high (Heb. 1:3; 10:12). Having done all that was commanded of Him, the Son of Man was exalted by God to the right hand of the power of God (Luke 22:69). And having been lifted up from the earth He draws all men to Himself; for He died a death for all men and the life He lives He lives to God for all men (Jn. 12:32; Ro. 6:10). And there around His throne whereupon He sits in majesty, splendor, and radiance, from whence He rules the nations, there His disciples gather to Him having washed their robes in His blood and made them white as snow.

And from there, from His place of rest where He sits; from His throne of glory and exaltation; from His seat of authority over life and death and over all things in heaven and on earth and under the earth, from there He opens His mouth and teaches that numberless multitude from every nation, from every tribe and peoples and tongues who stand before the Lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands. He teaches you the ways of the Lord.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Numbered among the numberless multitude, your voice joins theirs as you cry out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And you serve the Lord day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne shelters you with His presence (Rev. 7:10, 15). And you no longer hunger and thirst for righteousness, for in Him you are satisfied. You are no longer scorched by the sun and heat of toil, toiling after eternal life, for in Him you rest and live forever. The Lamb in the midst of the throne is your shepherd, and He guides you to springs of living water, and God wipes away your tears. For in Him is peace forevermore. Amen.


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