November 5, 2023 Sermon

All Saints Episcopal Church, Boise
All Saints Day / Revelation 7:9–17; Psalm 34:1–10; 1 John 3:1–13; Matthew 5:1–12
Character Ethics in the Beatitudes
What defines a Christian is his character and not his or her faith. Character a Christian.
People think it is faith, faith in the redemption, faith in the future, faith in heaven or hell or
whatever else.
“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God.” – Oswald Chambers
Confidence in the character of God helps us to change our character to God’s.
In the scriptures today we are talking about the Character ethics rather than personality
What is the character of God?
Do you know how hard it is to go to moon? According to the studies and what was
reported, those astronauts literally had to break out of the tremendous gravity pull of the
earth. More energy was spent in the first few minutes of lift-off, in the first few miles of
travel, than was used over the next several days to travel half a million miles. Once they
got out of the grip of gravity, it was easier to travel
Once the astronauts go to the surface of the moon, they were hopping like the bunnies in
the wilderness. Nothing pulled them down.
It is this principle of lose of gravitational pull, that pull us down to subhuman behaviors,
which Jesus came to eradicate.
Character is the accumulation of habits over time.
The promises of God are nothing more than God’s covenant to be faithful to his people. It
is his character that makes these promises valid. – Jerry Bridges
Beatitudes show us how to build Character Ethics rather than personality ethics, cults,
aspirations, success, impression and more.
We human beings can only be truly joyful when we integrate fundamental principles in
life. In this scripture today that is what we find. Jesus is teaching his followers the
fundamental principles.
1858 W. Judith Lane | Boise, ID 83709 | | [email protected]
Blessed are the poor in spirit:
It is in modesty and simplicity we become poor and unattached. It is the character of God
to remain modest, poor, and simple.
Philippians 2:6–11 “who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with
God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being
born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by
becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly
exalted him …..”
God chooses to remain poor, unattached, uninterested in the things of this world, and like
Jesus, the kingdom of God belongs to the unattached and uninterested in this world.
People who are not pulled by the gravitational force of this world, with the wealth and
riches of this world, can easily hop and jump when you loose such gravitational pull.
God examines both rich and poor, not according to their lands and houses, but according
to the riches of their hearts. – Augustine of Hippo
Mother Theresa says, “The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being
Blessed are those who mourn:
What has disappointed half the country today is the loss of empathy in Americans for the
suffering and poor, the immigrants and untouchables as some call people with different
orientation and gender preference.
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…
Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”― Harper Lee, To Kill a
Patience and Empathy: Isaiah 53:4 “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our
sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”
Jesus cries with the woman who lost her son, he cries again at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus
heals the sick, consoles the thief, lifts up the sinner. The beatitudes show the Character of
God. He built a habit of care, compassion, and thus a character, a principle of truth in his
life, that can not eradicated in suffering or pain.
But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you
never, never quit – Psalm 86:15 MSG
“Compassion hurts. When you feel connected to everything, you also feel responsible for
everything. And you cannot turn away. Your destiny is bound with the destinies of others.
You must either learn to carry the Universe or be crushed by it. You must grow strong
enough to love the world, yet empty enough to sit down at the same table with its worst
horrors.”― Andrew Boyd, Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything
in the Universe
1858 W. Judith Lane | Boise, ID 83709 | | [email protected]
God acts mercifully, not indeed by going against His justice, but by doing something more
than justice. St. Thomas Aquinas. (Is God merciful, compassionate and empathetic? In the world of St.
Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica (English) (Third Article: Whether Mercy Can Be Attributed to God?)
Empathy requires you to go beyond justice!
Blessed are the meek
When you book a flight these days, you find your carbon footprint in the universe before
you book the flight. If one does not believe in global warming, they are not paying
attention to the changes around them. The unpredictable rain, the unexpected storms,
destructive hurricanes, too much snow in Chicago and not enough snow in Boise, the
depleting water in Salk Lake, Utah, the devastating earth quakes in California, the receding
shorelines across the world, torrential rains that never happened before, 663 Million
People On Our Planet Lack Access To Safe Drinking Water. and the list is unending.
This climate change in part is due to the increasing footprint of human arrogance,
ignorance, pride, and ingratitude. It is our absolute inability to understand who we are as
good stewards of the world entrusted to our care and not control. We are trying conquer
the world rather than live in it with love.
Jainism is a religion in India. A group of Jains, and the monks and nuns among them, walk
gently and humbly on earth. They cover their faces not to harm any germs. They walk
carefully on earth not to hurt an ant. They use little, and they live a simple life. It is this
same ideology that lead the church fathers and mothers to the desert.
It is in being meek and humble, we make a difference in the world.
When you are humble, your footprint of arrogance and pride, looses the grip around you,
and thus you are not pulled down by the gravity of pride, and ingratitude.
Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in
heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Philippians 2: 3-5 Be free from pride-filled opinions, for they will only harm your
cherished unity. Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic
humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves. Abandon
every display of selfishness. Possess a greater concern for what matters to others instead of
your own interests. And consider the example that Jesus.
This is called Character Ethics, not personality ethics. It is not success or name or fame. It
is for transformation and what we see in Jesus, the “Transfiguration.”
Today we celebrate the feast of All Saints, the patronal feast of this church. Today we are
reflecting on the beatitudes.
So, I call upon you to understand the Character Ethics of God that makes God
unchangeable and reliable.

XIV Bishop of Idaho