This last Tuesday was All Saint’s Day. For Christians across many traditions it is a day of great celebration and has been since the 9th century. While some define saints as super exceptional people who have done extraordinary even miraculous things and are now in heaven, lots of people, including scripture itself have a broader definition of what a saint is.
Simply said, a saint is a person living or dead who has been or is faithful in her or his walk with Jesus. Many saints are a living presence right now. Paul in his letters referred to living followers of Jesus in prison as saints. He described a woman named Lydia in the same way. When he wrote a letter to Christians in Rome, he called them “all the saints”. In essence Paul referred to saints as people of faith, struggling to do their best to follow Jesus through all kinds of hardships and in the midst of obstacles.
Saints living two thousand years ago and saints living right now share the same thing. They are faithful followers of Jesus who go about the work of spreading the story of Jesus, serving, touching the lives of others, and most of all loving. Saints are ordinary people who respond to folks at home, school, work, or in their community, who are hurting or suffering or having a hard time.
Think back in your own life to those times in which your motivation was idled, your emotions were dead, or your sense of direction was stalled. Moments in which you may have felt powerless, numb, or confused as to what to do next.
But the amazing thing for most of us is that when we have been in such a state, inevitably someone has come along, and said, done, or offered something that had just the right spark in it to get us jump started and moving forward again.
Just for a moment, reflect back on your life and think about the countless people that have entered it at just the right time when you needed it most and helped to get you going again. Whether it was a parent, friend, sister, brother, cousin, therapist, doctor, pastor, or complete stranger, each of us in our lives has benefited from the help of someone else.
It is important to remember that sainthood is not about perfection, it is about faithfulness, service, and most of all love. All Saints Day is the day for us to remember and to give thanks for the saints, both living and dead, who have helped us at various points in our journey.
I invite you this day to take some time thinking about and thanking God for the saints that have come into your life and perhaps even taking some time to thank the living saints that have helped you.