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All Saints



Today (November 1) is All Saints Day, and tomorrow we will be celebrating it in church. While various days throughout the year are set aside to honor one saint or another – St. Luke, St. Mary, St. Joseph, etc. – this is the day we honor ALL saints.

What do you think of when you think of “saints”? Often we tend to think of saints as people who walked around with faint halos over their heads, people whose feet somehow never touch the ground, floating around in a holiness and peace and closeness with God…

…if that is our definition, however, then the saints were no saints! Read any of their histories and you’ll find that saints were every bit as irritable, temperamental, doubting and sin-full as you and me.

I say that not to LOWER your opinion of “saints,” but to RAISE your estimation of being one yourself.

As the (de-Anglo-cized version) of “I sing a song of the Saints of God” puts it,

They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still.
The world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus' will.

You can meet them in school, on the street, in the store,
in church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one too.

Saints are people who let God’s light shine through their lives. They (we!) are not people who live perfect lives, but who, “whenever we fall into sin, repent and return to the Lord.
They (we) are people who proclaim by word and example not the good news of our own lives, but the good news of God in Christ.

There’s a famous story of a little girl in a Sunday school class who was learning the Apostle’s Creed, and memorizing it. She came home to show how well she was doing memorizing it.

She did well until she got to the line near the end where we say “we believe in the communion of saints and the forgiveness of sins,” and she said

“… and we believe in the communion of sinners, and the forgiveness of saints….”

Her father said, “honey, don’t ever learn it any other way…”

That’s the church I know and love: one that believes in the communion of sinners, and in the forgiveness of saints.

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