Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 11-5-23 “ All Saints Sunday” 

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Matthew 23:1-12; 1 Thessalonians 2:9-13; Joshua 3:7-17

The scripture we just heard began with verse 7, however, I will use verse 15 for my meditation today. Joshua 3:15 tells us that the crossing of the Jordan happens at the time of the harvest, when the river is at flood stage. I do not how many have seen a river at flood stage. It may be scarry. The Jordan River is one of the fastest flowing rivers of its size. The reason for that is its elevation.  

The Jordan River drops significantly in elevation. Its headwaters are at Mount Hermon, 9000 feet above sea level, and it ends at the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth 1400 feet below sea level. The actual distance between Mount Hermon and the Dead Sea is about 124 miles. In 124 miles Jordan River drops 10,400 feet. Besides all this dropping of elevation. In some places the river looks more like a creek than a river. Its width is between 33 feet and 60 at its widest. Its deepest point is around 17 feet. I share all this information just for us to have an idea of how fast and strong this river could be at flood stage.

The river was at flood stage when God asked the Israelites to cross it. Those priests who were ahead carrying the Ark must have had faith in God’s promises because when they were before these rapid waters, either God fulfill his promise to stop the waters, or they were going to be swept away. The Book of Joshua says that the priests march ahead of the people bearing the ark, and as soon as their feet touch the water of the Jordan, it stops flowing, so the people spread out before the river, cross over on dry ground.  

Today that we are celebrating All Saints Sunday, I would like to compare the priest who were ahead carrying the Ark with all those great women and men who in the past of our personal and communal journey of faith walked ahead of us and with their work, example, and prayers made our path easier.  

The Bible in the Old and New Testament is clear when says that the Church is a community. In our western individualized society, it is hard sometimes to realize just how connected we are with other people. And how our lives are intertwined with the lives of others in ways that we are sometimes unaware. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are social creatures. Many people like to think that we are who we are, and we have what we have because we have worked hard to make ourselves this way.

If we are honest, we will admit that much of who we are as human beings has been accomplished with the help of other people and that is true, especially in the Church. Most of us who are here have fathers and mothers in the Faith. Most of the time those fathers and mothers in the Faith are or were, our own parents and grandparents. They are people who loved us and were patient with us when we were spoiled teenagers. Others were our teachers, pastors, youth ministers, Sunday School teachers who in small or large ways helped us grow and nurtured us, in life and in Faith. When we think about this, we realize that we are part of a larger community. Larger than just those who are around us daily.

All these mothers and fathers in the faith carried the Ark on their shoulders for us to cross on dried land the journey of faith. Today is the day we have separated to tell them thank you and to celebrate all those great things they did in our personal history and in the history of this church. We are who we are and have what we have because of them. Today, I want to invite you to commit yourselves to continue with what they began. Let us carry the Ark/church, let us honor God and them by continue their journey to our Promised Land the same way Joshua continued with what Moses began.

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