Saturday, October 31, 2020
Feast of All Saints: Old and New, Known and Unknown
 But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God,
and no torment will ever touch them.
 In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died,
and their departure was thought to be an affliction,
 and their going from us to be their destruction;
but they are at peace.
 For though in the sight of men they were punished,
their hope is full of immortality.
 Having been disciplined a little, they will receive great good,
because God tested them and found them worthy of himself;
 like gold in the furnace he tried them,
and like a sacrificial burnt offering he accepted them.
 In the time of their visitation they will shine forth,
and will run like sparks through the stubble.
 They will govern nations and rule over peoples,
and the Lord will reign over them for ever.
 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
he will fill Zion with justice and righteousness;
 and he will be the stability of your times,
abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
the fear of the LORD is his treasure.
 Behold, the valiant ones cry without;
the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
 The highways lie waste,
the wayfaring man ceases.
Covenants are broken,
witnesses are despised,
there is no regard for man.
 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets —
 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, received promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.
 Women received their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, that they might rise again to a better life.
 Others suffered mocking and scourging, and even chains and imprisonment.
 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, ill-treated —
 of whom the world was not worthy — wandering over deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
 And all these, though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised,
 since God had foreseen something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.
 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,
 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear him!
 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
 Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.
 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
The Revised Standard Version of the Bible is copyright © National Council of Churches of Christ in America