Today was “All Saints Sunday.” Wonderful day. All Saints Day is November 1, each year. It is a day to celebrate all those people in our lives who have gone on ahead of us into the next life. And it is a day to celebrate those ordinay saints in our lives; to give thanks for those random acts of kindness; to open our eyes and see the unheralded saints who cross our paths every day without thought of or desire for recognition. Those who do the right thing simply because it is the right thing.
Somewhere along the line people got the idea that a saint was a holy and perfect person – one who had conquered all of life’s difficulties, and who served as a sterling example of how to live your life. Oh, one other thing – saints are dead. Hard to live up to that. . .
Well, saints are as far from perfect as anyone else. They have suffered from the same doubts and concerns, have fallen just as short* as the rest of us, and are as prone to the same foibles as all of us human beings are. They are not busts of plaster, nor are they illuminated icons hanging on some wall and looking down on us poor sinners.
Saints are sinners – that’s what makes them worth celebrating every day. Precisely because they are not perfect is what makes them so worthy of our respect and admiration. St. Paul generally addressed his letters to the “Saints” at the towns to which he wrote. All those who live their lives in love and in service to others can rightly be called saints. (Actually, any of my readers who continue to check in on my blog and read and leave kind, encouraging comments are all saints in my book! At least you have the patience of one!) There is a children’s hymn for All Saints Day that is one of my very favorites, and we sang it this morning in church. It brought to my mind all the wonderful saints of my life – those who have died, and those yet living and influencing my life by their example and witness. Take some time to consider those people as you lay your head down tonight, and be grateful for their presence in your life, and with me, “Sing a Song of the Saints of God:”
“I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and his love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus’ sake
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.
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.”
~Lyrics by Lesbia Scott
~Traditionally sing to the tune “Grand Isle”
Clicking this link will take you to a site where the words are printed, and you can listen to the tune. Hope it will be one of your favorites, too!
May you all be blessed with the abundance of enough. . .
(* -One of my favorite preacher’s “bloopers” was offered in prayer: “Lord forgive us our falling shorts!” Makes me laugh every time!)