Since we could not be in worship this morning, I offer this devotional.
“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 1:1-3 NRSV
Today is All Saints Day, the day we traditionally commemorate the lives of those who, as the Apostle Paul states, “call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and who now stand in his presence.
For some people, the word “saint” can be difficult to grasp. The word brings to mind the idea of someone perfect and without flaw, or someone with an inward quality of divinity that enables them to fly with the angels. In reality that is not the nature of a saint.
The Apostle Paul uses the Greek word “hagios” to address the Church of the first century. The word literally means “holy ones.” We have traditionally translated that into the English word “saints.”
Paul used that word to address and describe those still living, not just those who have died. He used that word to describe all who are “called to be Saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”
What does this mean? It means a saint is one of God’s holy people. They are holy because God calls them holy and through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, enables them to live holy lives, lives that reflect the character of God through Christ-likeness. It means we are saints, you and I.
So what does a saint look like? That depends. Right now, at this very moment, in the aftermath of a hurricane, a saint could be someone who clears away fallen trees from a street or a neighbor’s house and yard. A saint could be someone who helps put a tarp on a house or who gives away firewood, or who invites a neighbor without restored power to come over to take a shower or have a cup of coffee. A saint could be a local line-worker or one from another state or country who leaves home and family to help restore power for people they never meet. A saint could be a business owner who helps customers get the relief they need. A saint could be someone who gives out food and supplies to strangers, or simply checks on a neighbor to encourage and help them as possible.
Today is All Saints Day. Because we are still recovering from Hurricane Zeta, we will not be worshipping corporately, in person or online. But we can still worship another way. We can honor our departed saints by being living saints, right here, right now.
Next Sunday, we will regather and formally remember our saints. We will share in communion and “the mystery that has been hidden throughout the ages and generations but has now been revealed to his saints.” (Col. 1:26) And we will experience the mystic sense of their presence.
So until then, I exhort you: Go and be a saint!
Blessings to you all!