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A blessed All Saints' Day to the saints of God at Saint John's. This month, I commend to you a devotion written by Pastor Bo Giertz that may be found in his daily devotional book To Live with Christ. May it strengthen you in Christ whose blood and righteousness makes sinners saints.

Blessed All Saints' Day,
Pastor Nettleton

All Saints’ Day (Matthew 5:1–12) 1
by Bo Giertz

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:3

All Saints' Day has become the day when we talk about heaven, think about the dead and decorate their graves. It has become roughly what is called "all souls day" in southern Europe, which is the day after All Saints' Day. The combination has its risks. It has probably contributed to the misunderstanding that all dead people are saints and that you will certainly go to heaven when you die.

All Saints' Day is about the saints. Even we evangelicals talk about saints. As a matter of fact, all Christians can be called “holy.” That’s what they’re called in the New Testament. That means they’ve been taken away from this world, cleansed in Christ’s blood and united with Christ Himself. However, there are those among God’s holy ones who have been so affected by the fellowship with Christ that they become a living testimony that He truly is the living Savior. They help the rest of us to believe. They become irrefutable proof that God lives. We call those people saints.

We oftentimes imagine people like these must be very impressive, strong and successful in every way. Jesus describes what they are really like in the Beatitudes. He gives us a picture of the new life that follows from faith in Christ. These blessed ones don’t feel blessed. They are poor in the spirit and feel that they are lacking in everything. That’s why they are hungry and thirsty for righteousness. Actually it says: after righteousness, the only true righteousness is that which Jesus possesses and which won’t be fulfilled until we become like Him in the resurrection. They mourn, both for themselves and others. They’re abused, persecuted and lied about because they don’t live like other people. However, they’re gentle. They don’t demand their rights. They don’t put themselves on a pedestal. They establish peace by suffering rather than fighting. They’re merciful because they know how much forgiveness they need every day. And they’re pure in their hearts, sincere, without trying to find blame or make excuses.

And what does Jesus promise them? Everything that came with Him and will be victorious and apparent when the world is born again. They will be comforted when God dries their tears. They will possess the new earth that God will create. They will be satisfied when they become the dinner guests in God's kingdom. They will be counted among God's children and will see Him face-to-face. In other words: they belong to God's kingdom.

Dear Lord Jesus, we ask You to give us saints. You see how much we need people to strengthen us in our faith and show us how to live. But help us, Lord, so that we don't want saints to be different from how You want them. Help us to let go of all our longing for things that impress and strengthen in a worldly manner. And make us willing to follow the path of Your true saints so we renounce what is grand and gets a response and, instead, dare to be small and powerless in Your way so Your power can fill us. Honor be to Your name and help our fellow human beings.

  1. Bo Giertz, To Live with Christ (Concordia Publishing House, 2008), 766–767.

Rev. Shawn Nettleton is Senior Pastor at Saint John’s Lutheran Church. You can reach him in the church office, by email at or at 970-305-2420.