Thursday, November 1st is All Saints’ Day. In worship on November 4th we’ll sing the hymn “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” which celebrates, not only saints from the past, some of them Biblical figures, but lifts up the idea that saints were and are those people who, because they love God, live that love in service to others. According to the hymn, saints are to be found in all walks of everyday life. We know that some saints are famous, but there are many more who are known only to the people with whom they come in contact. My favorite definition of a saint is that of the little girl who said, after being told that the people in the stained glass windows of her church were saints said, “Then saints are people the light shines through.”
Some other definitions of the word “saint” that I like are:
- “A saint is one who makes goodness attractive.” Poet Laurence Houseman
- “Saints are persons who make it easier for others to believe in God.” Nathan Soderblom
- “In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints.” Fredrick Buechner
I share with you these words from “Saints Alive” worship resource. “I would imagine, and hope, that all of us have encountered our own saints. If each of us was to write down the name of someone we have known whom we would call a saint, there is probably one characteristic that would mark each of them. All are likely to be giving people. They give time. They give attention. They give love. They give of their substance. They give appreciation. Some give their lives. These people are life-givers. They stand alongside Jesus Christ who gave all. They do not so much reflect his glory as allow it to shine through them.”
Saints are like salt and light, flavoring, changing that to which they are added for the better, lighting a sometimes dark world with love. God is counting on us all, as a community in Christ and as individuals, to make real the words of the second verse of the hymn, “They loved their God and they lived that love. It was loving that made them strong. They did what was right, for Jesus’ sake, lived justly their whole lives long.”
And so I would encourage you to let Christ’s light and love shine through you. God knows, literally, that we have need of saints!
In Christ Love!
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ