“Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
Twice in the last month I’ve preached on these words at memorial services for people connected to St. Luke’s – first at the service for Donna Pohl, Daniel Pohl’s mother, and then again at the service for Kathy Tiedemann, Serenia Keippel’s mother. Despite the ambiguity of these words, I find them comforting. They tell the truth about the present and the future: we don’t know what comes after death, but we do know that we are God’s children now.
This Sunday is “All Saints Sunday,” a day when we offer prayers and thanksgiving for those who have gone before us in this life. Lutherans remember though that we are all saints – the good and the bad, the famous and the anonymous. We are made saints by our baptism, God’s waters of impartiality which hold us in life and in death. Bathed in these waters, the waters that make us all equals, we can say along with John that “we will be like him, for we will see him as he is” – because in our baptism God sees us as we are and makes us all God’s own.