St. Mary Magdalene Anglican Church

Vancouver, B.C.

Phone: 604-877-1788


The Anglican Parish of St. Mary Magdalene

2950 Laurel Street at West 14th Avenue

Vancouver, BC, V5Z  3T3

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Diocese of New Westminster Anglican Church of Canada

Home Who We Are UAM What Is On Sermons Contact Us


November 1st All Saints Day, 2020                      John Marsh

Revelation 7:9-17; Psalm 34:1-10, 22; John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12

Some of us have known poverty – materially, spiritually, and psychically – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:3)

Some of us have known the depths of mourning – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:4)

Some of us have dared the ‘mutation’ of non-violent responses – and we’re here!¹ (See Matthew 5:5)

Some of us have yearned for the fulfillment of justice – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:6)

Some of us have risked mercy – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:7)

Some of us have sought purity of sight and thought – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:8)

Some of us have plumbed the depths of conflict with a commitment to shalom – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:9)

Some of us have done the right thing, have stood up when needed, have spoken whether invited to or not – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:10)

Some of us have been brought low, been persecuted, have been abused though innocent and/or faithful – and we’re here! (See Matthew 5:11)

I have a hunch we’re here because we have been surprised by care in a time of fragility…

We’re here because within our poverty, our mourning, our yearnings, our risk taking, we have sensed something, something more, something beyond ourselves…

We’re here because we have been touched by a caress of blessing sustaining our soul, confirming our insight, nourishing our yearnings…

We’re here because, touched by blessing, we seek to honour god, something stirring within the name, by opening to blessing…

We’re here because, in the messiness of our humanity, we have encountered that which is within and yet beyond us, that which beckons, nudges, draws out, initiates, shapes and encourages our journey of becoming who we are...

We’re here because we have sensed something other, something often named as god…

We’re here because we sense that our identity as humans is somehow bound up with Jesus…

We’re here because Jesus is an expression of an authentic human life yet not the only expression; inspired by Jesus, we too need to find authentic expressions of our humanity…

We’re here because as is said in 1 John:

Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he (she, they, wisdom’s child, the messianic lure stirring within all!) is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

We’re here because we are trying to follow the way of Jesus!

In our efforts to follow Yeshua, sometimes named as the Christ, we are invited to become ever more fully human which means accepting (loving) ourselves as we are…

Truth to tell, it may seem paradoxical but the acceptance of ourselves as we are, allows us to change!

So, accepting ourselves as we are may open us to growing through our mistakes, learning by trial and error, becoming ourselves scars and all, embracing and transforming those elements in us that we find unacceptable, giving up pretending to be good and risking becoming real, opening to the paradox that the deepest reaches of our humanity are often borne by our wounds…

Perhaps following the way means finding and being found by blessing in our poverty, by blessing in our mourning, by blessing amid violence, by blessing in our commitment to shalom, by blessing in our dignity...

And so today, as we renew our baptismal vows, as we recommit to trying to follow the way of Jesus, we recommit to a becoming, becoming more fully realized, more fully human, sensing, stumbling toward a light but barely seen, a call but barely heard.

We’re here, hoping against hope, that we will be touched by blessing, that, perhaps, just perhaps, we may be a blessing!


In truth, all human beings are called to be saints,

but that just means called to be fully human.

The saints are simply those men and women who relish the event of life

as a gift and realize that the only way to honour such a gift

is to give it away.

William Stringfellow

 ¹ If violence is the norm, the non-violence of Jesus is necessarily a mutation.