Thursday, 1 November 2012

All Saints Day

Today is All Saints Day, an important day in the churches calendar, although sadly largely overlooked here in the United Kingdom.  But in countries like Poland, All Saints day is a very important day indeed, it is a public holiday, during which people will visit the graves of their loved ones.  It is a very moving sight, as open air services attended by hundreds of people are held in cemeteries, and people leave lit candles on the graves, so at night the graves are lit up with the lights of tens of thousands of candles flickering in the dark – an extremely beautiful and moving sight.

All Saints Day is day in which we remember and thank God for the Christians saints down through the ages.  The saints we think about, are not only those whose names are remembered and commemorated down the ages, but also the ordinary Christians who have gone before us, because we are all saints – because that is what the name saints in the New Testament means, it is the believes who are dedicated to God.  So if you want to know who the saints of the church are today, look around you! 

All Saints Day is an opportunity to thank God for the people who have helped and inspired us on our own journey of faith.  To reflect on their example, and also to consider our own lives, and the witness. 

In the seventeenth century Jeremy Taylor wrote:
The memories of the saints are precious to God, and therefore they ought also to be so to us: and such persons, who serve God by holy living, industrious preaching, and religious dying, out to have their names preserved in honour, and God be glorified in them, and their holy doctrines and lives published and imitated.
The story is told of a minister who in talking with the children of a congregation asked them what a “saint” is.  One of the children looking at the stained glass windows of the church, replied, “A saint is a person the sun shines through.”   This for me is as good a description of a saint that you could find, we are called to be people through whom the Son (S O N) shines through.

We are the saints of the church today, ordinary people trying our best to live in the light and love of God, so that hopefully through us, other people may experience something of God’s light and love touching their lives.

God has sent us here to make a difference, to make the world a better place, to be a saint. Being a saint is not about being canonized or immortalized in a statue in some cathedral. Sainthood is more ordinary than that. It is every day. It is going into this dark world and making it just a little bit brighter. This can be accomplished by word, by deed, by simply following God’s call and letting the radical, liberating message of Christ’s Gospel guide you and flow through you.

So go into the world and let God’s light shine through you — so that the Gospel’s beautiful rainbow of truth spreads across every road you take and upon everyone you encounter on this sacred journey. 

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