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As Hebrews 11 reminds us we are a Faith with great heroes. Some men and women are given the grace to do great feats for God and this weekend the Church honored them. Today is a lesser known celebration: the Feast of All Souls, a day to remember all the faithful departed. Put mythically: If yesterday was for the Aragorns and Frodos, today is the day for the warriors and servants who followed in their train.

Why the distinction?Americans like to fantasize that at least in “Heaven” there will be no more distinctions. Isn’t heaven going to be fair?

The good news is that we are not going to get our “just” reward in paradise, but mercy and grace based on the loving actions of God.

The Bible reminds that love as opposed to justice  knows nothing of equality. The beloved is elevated in the eyes of the lover and is not treated based on her merits. The world to come reflects that truth. The Bible shows some sitting on thrones . . . and the rest of us not sitting on thrones. Everyone is as joy filled as they can be, but we do not all have the same capacity for joy or the same calling.

God in His sovereignty gives us each a function in his divine economy  and it is useless to be frustrated with our place in history. The Clintonian urge to live in “interesting times” so that one can become a hero is unseemly and useless. Most of us are called to do our simple duty and allow the indwelling grace of God to sanctify us and prepare us for eternity in His presense.

That is a large enough task for any man. We need not be called to slay dragons or win kingdoms in order to face a foe that is too great for our own striving.

Job 14.1 and following says:

Man that is born of woman is, of a few days, and full of trouble, he cometh forth like a flower and is cut down.

That is foe enough for most of us and too much for all of us. The burden of fallen humanity in a world groaning for final redemption would overwhelm all of us with the despair of the Preacher in Ecclesiastes if it were not for Jesus Christ.

The emo kid  dressed in black Hamleting about the futility of it all is on to something. He sees that there is nothing, absolutely nothing, he can do to free himself from the cave of culture. The flickering images on the wall fascinate, but do not hide the chains that bind him and to his horror his spirit cannot turn away from the projected pictures of cultural decay any more than Lookie-Lou drivers in LA can keep from slowing down to stare at a highway accident.

God’s grace is needed to win a mighty victory over self and that battle is enough for me.

There is hierarchy, therefore, in Heaven, but no little people. Every man acquitted by the blood of Jesus from guilt and who stands clothed in His righteousness brings a great gift to God. We give Himself to Him through Him and He elevates us because He loves us.

God does not forget the glorious deeds of the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, and Martyrs. Most of us will not join their ranks, but we are in an order glorious with its own light: the redeemed of the Lord!

The long nightmare battle against sin will end. The holiday and the continuous Sabbath rest of God will come! I remember so many of my family, friends, and members of my parish already gone to this rest and rejoice, because I am like they were and so have hope to become as they are now. They were not called to be great heroes of the faith, but to do simple, plain duties. They strove against the world, the flesh, and the devil in their own hearts and plain lives and God’s grace was sufficient. The right Man, the Cosmic Hero, was on their side and He is the Lord Sabaoth, never defeated.

The old English costume of placing RIP, rest in peace, on a tombstone was efficient with the stone cutters labor and with the message of the Gospel. They followed their leaders faithfully and well. There names are not in the roll of heroes, but they are known to God and that is honor enough for any man. The faithful rest in peace!

So on this holy day I can pray with confidence, because it has already been granted that the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace.

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