Last week the Church celebrated All Saint’s day. Now, in my tradition, the saints are all of us who are slogging through the life of faith: the good, the bad, even the ugly! “Saint” isn’t a name for the special in faith, it is a name for the ordinary disciple.
I often think about why I think that “church” — or more specifically gathering as a people of faith — is even necessary. I mean, why not stay home in my jammies and read the bible on my own (other than the obvious being-the-pastor-thing)? Can’t I worship God under a canopy of greening leaves or in a garden of flowers or in service to my neighbor? The fact is, I don’t have a good answer for either of these two questions.
But: when I really drill down, I think that the saints — the ordinary people of faith who surround me when we gather for “church” — are the answer. Because while I can read my bible in my jammies and I can worship God in nature, it is only the saints who, in their lives and their words, remind us which way is up – which way is God’s way.
Rejoice in God’s saints today and all days!— Fred Pratt Green, “Rejoice in God’s Saints”
A world without saints forgets how to praise.
In loving, in living, they prove it is true:
their way of self-giving, Lord, leads us to you.
These saints are our beacons. They’re lives proclaim the gospel to us in absolutely ordinary ways.
Like my fourth grade teacher, Mr. Meade. Who had such confidence in me that I gained confidence in myself. Or Grandma Rachel, who showed me that being loud and opinionated was not the only way to be strong in faith – something I’m still learning. Or Pastor Dan, whose calm (though convoluted) sermons reminded me week after week that a life of faith is a life well lived. Or Dorothy, who reminds me each and every week that living in God is something that keeps growing and growing and growing.
You have them, don’t you? That saint who when you were at a doubting point gave you a hint of faith. That saint that when you were down and out sat down in the dark with you and held your hand. That saint that when you were bursting with joy reminded you to give thanks to God.
Yes!! Turning our hearts back to God – that is why God gives us these incredible people – these ordinary saints – who remind us how great is our God.
And so, with God and all the heavens, we rejoice in God’s saints!