Today, the first Sunday after Pentecost we celebrate All Saints Sunday - the day we remember all the glorified souls in the Heavens, all whom we know by name as well as all those whom we do not know by name. Their identity shall be revealed to us when we join them in the Eternal Kingdom. The Church, in her wisdom, organized for us to read a very special passage from the Scriptures as we commemorate All Saints Sunday. Similar lessons appear to us from St. Paul in his epistles to the Ephesians and to the Romans. I believe this particular passage from the Wisdom of Solomon describes how God treats His saints.
At last night’s Vespers service we read a short passage from the Old Testament book of the Wisdom of Solomon. Chapter 5 verse 15 begins like this:
“But the righteous live forever,
And their reward is with the Lord;
And their care is by the Most High.”
Being righteous is a call to each of us and this Old Testament book of wisdom and guidance confirms that righteousness is a pursuit which isn’t forgotten by the Most High Lord our God. Those who live righteously are cared for by God Himself and they live eternally, being rewarded by the Lord. But what is that reward? The next verse answers that question, dear friends.
“Therefore they shall receive a kingly dwelling of dignity
And a crown of beauty from the hand of the Lord,
Because He will shelter them with His right hand
And protect them with His arm.”
What Solomon describes to us here is what the reward from God to the righteous looks like. A “kingly dwelling of dignity” with a “crown of beauty from the Lord’s hand” and His protection and defense for eternity. We have been made into sharers of the Royalty status of God’s Kingdom. God being the King of Glory decides to share that kingly life with His beloved righteous saints.
The remainder of chapter 5 describes all of creation as the Armor of God; basically it reads almost like a strategy of weaponry of defense God employs to protect His righteous people from all types of attacks from the enemy, who is the devil himself.
I’ll share a humorous note here. All of us have heard or made the joke about being ‘struck by lightning’ if we do something sacrilegious….well, that expression comes from this reading, namely chapter 5 verse 21: “Well-aimed flashes of lightning will strike…” But overall, the poetic descriptions of military strategy employed by God with the entirety of His creation teach us that it is indeed ‘natural’ and ‘normal’ for all of God’s creation to resist the influence of the evil who seeks to destroy the righteous.
But this passage prescribed at Vespers closes with the first 3 verses from chapter 6. In these verses we see a caution to the leaders of people. It is a caution that whoever has been given the responsibility to lead and care for people will be held accountable as to the way of righteousness they have employed and given to those in their responsibility. This caution is likely understood to be for governmental leaders and clergy leaders; but in truth I believe it is for all who have great or small positions of guidance to groups of people; particularly groups of people who seek to live a righteous life.
May we be richly blessed with wisdom to live righteously and be rewarded with the eternal royal life with God and All His Saints!