Every. Life. Matters

I’m not making a political statement here.

I’m not picking a fight in a culture war.

I’m not referring to the Black Lives Matter movement – that that can be a conversation for another day.

I’m trying to make a bold theological statement – that every single life matters to God.

From the beginning of our faith story, God made Adam, sees that Adam is lonely and that matters to God, so God creates another, Eve. Cain and Abel have the worst kind of sibling squabble and God hears Abel’s blood cry out to God from the ground because his life mattered to God.[1]

There is midrash (study or exegesis) that as Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea the waters closed behind them on the Egyptians. On seeing the drowning Egyptians, the angels were about to break into song when God silenced them declaring, “How dare you sing for joy when My creatures are dying,” and the angels were stopped from singing praise.[2]  That’s because the Egyptians mattered to God, as did the Israelites.[3]

God seeing our suffering in sin comes to us in human form in Jesus. Proving that human life matters to God regardless of how tarnished or vile our sin makes our lives or the world for that matter.

I see the missile craters in the Jabaliya Refugee Camp, and I can’t help but think those lives matter to God. The bodies on the battlelines in Ukraine; the 26 million people facing severe hunger in the DRC; those abusing power to oppress and trans kids afraid for their lives at school.  You and me.

Every. Life. Matters to God.

Every. Life. Matters to God is one of the reasons why All Saints Day and All Saints Sunday is important to me.

Death doesn’t seem to care about life. “Death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints. It takes and it takes, and it takes.”[1] So this Sunday, by the grace of God, we stand and sing alleluias through tears as an act of vulgar defiance to death and needed solidarity to know we can get through our grief together.

On this Sunday we pause in the discomfort of our individual and collective loss. We remember the people we love and who we see no more. We name some of these persons aloud and the rest we name in our hearts. We display photos of our loved ones around the communion table to remind us of the thin veil between heaven and earth around that table.

We do this because every life matters to God.

We shed tears and dwell in our grief because these lives matter to us, too.

We share in the banquet of grace to remember that our lives matter to God, for Christ died while we were yet sinners, proving God’s love toward us.

All Saint’s Sunday can be difficult. Too much for some. I see your need for space. I honor that distance and I hold you in my heart this Sunday.

Together, we will gather in this broken and beautiful act of worship because Every. Life. Matters.

[1] Genesis 2:4-3:24; Genesis 4:10.

[2] Talmud, Megillah 10b and Sanhedrin 39b.

[3] I’m not sure how to deal with the genocide God ordered in the book of Joshua but that’s a conversation for later too.

[4]  Miranda, Lin-Manuel. Hamilton: An American Musical. Hamilton: The Revolution.