Growing up Baptist left me with few saintly thoughts. Saints were for Catholics who needed to be cautioned about idolatry. Now that I’m older and attend an Episcopal church, I recognize saints and sinners reside in and outside all churches.
The saints I’ve known won’t nestle in nooks as icons in churches or cathedrals. These saints below show up as neighbors, laden with kindness, others enter and become forever friends. Without fanfare some saints march into my life wearing aprons, toting casseroles and cakes to comfort and nourish body and soul when life’s too tough to swallow, some come laden with shovels to clear safe passage , or switch out screen for storm doors when winter muscles in, still others come bearing words to lift sagging spirits.
Some saints set-up flannel graphs for storytelling, others wore hospital garb to tend wounds seen and hidden. Then there are those who never let you leave empty-handed. Their generous hospitality sends you home with “a little something” for another meal. Who hasn’t sensed healing from those saints who simply come and sit in beside you in holy silence.None were perfect, as we suppose saints to be. All flawed. Someday we can ask Saint Peter, the patron saint of the Gloucester fishermen.
What was common to all?
God’s lavish love.
Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Requiem Sunday evening, left me challenged to be grateful to saints above and below, to heed their lives, not for sainthood’s sake, but for the love of Jesus, the good of my family, community and this world God loves.
Soren Kierkegaard wrote, “God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners.”
Holy ordinary saints live among us.
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