“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.’ Philippians 1:9-11
It’s ALL saints day! Pope Boniface the IV set aside one day to honor all saints in the 7th century. Today many denominations recognize All Saints Day. Being a “saint” in the Roman Catholic church involves what they refer to as attaining “beatific vision” (A direct revelation from God) If you ask the man on the street he will probably say something like, “It’s a holy person who died as a martyr.”
Lutherans know that All Saints Day comes right after Reformation and are likely to associate it with “all hollows eve”. Amazingly, Halloween has now become a huge holiday and a time for people to dress up like zombies or other scary “ghosts”. Most everyone likes to think of fear and death! I always tried to get my kids to dress up like Martin Luther and Katie. It didn’t scare anyone and my kids always commented, “Dad no one knows who we are supposed to be – even after we tell them.” Not enough Lutherans in our neighborhood.
This is a fine day to remember, “all the saints who from their labors rest.” But it is equally if not more important to note all the saints who are NOT yet resting from their rest! Your family, congregants, students and others are saints – just as much as St. Peter or St. John! They are LIVING saints actively serving God in 2017! They like the saints before us are “clothed in the righteousness of Christ”! Their sainthood is the blessing of God’s grace and forgiveness in Jesus!
We know that and we say that but we may not always really think or act that way! There is a part of us that finds it hard to compare our husband to St. Luke or our wife to St. Elizabeth. When we are in worship or in a church meeting we may forget that we are working with saints. Maybe we think of them as “saints in the making” rather than “full-fledged saints” clothed in the righteousness of Christ at their baptism. And the other side is true too – people may not always or ever see us a true saints! We struggle a bit on this because we tend to judge one another on a sanctification scale rather than a justification scale.
So, if you are reading this in the morning I would encourage you to refer to your fellow Christians on this day as, “Saint Kent” or “Saint Caroline” or “St. whatever”. If All Saints Day is over when you read this you can do it on any day or every day! If you are a teacher you might think of “When the Saints Go Marching In” as they come in from recess. You can do the same thing with adults when they march into church or you next meeting. And then look up as you brush your teeth and see the saint before in the mirror! God bless you saints today! Saint Daniel