Last Sunday we recalled the Protestant Reformation. A tenet from back then was simul justus et peccator, which means at the same time we are yet sinners, we are also justified, or made alright by God. So every Christian is simultaneously sinner and saint, which likely squares with even the best people you have known.
Human beings, even the best, are messily imperfect, prone toward selfishness, or sometimes just unheeding and hapless in the hurt that we cause to other folks. Yet that doesn’t change our belovedness in God’s eyes, much as we still love our children when they disobey us. Saints are far from some club of righteousness, posing for marble statues of unapproachably noble ideals, and absent of doubts.
Saints are those for whom God’s generously gracious intent and loyalty has the final word. All of our hope rests in dying and rising in Christ’s gracious love for us. One of my favorite passages from the Bible will be read on Sunday: “They will hunger no more, and thirst no more; the sun will not strike them, nor any scorching heat; for the Lamb…will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of the water of life, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” It is God’s greatest promise. The day will come when it will mean the world to you.
For now we’re saints-in-training and will often get things wrong, unable to perfect ourselves. But God is up to the task, as we yield ourselves to God’s purposes, when no one else can help us. That means that one day we can become saints.
A day will come when every tear this life brings will be wiped away, and fear will be no more. On that day sainthood will be less joyless perfection and more a celebration of God’s grace and generosity. Maybe while we are on this side of sainthood, that means that today is a great day to make ourselves ready for joy.
This All Saints Sunday we will…
- bring our Food First canned and dried food offerings for the hungry.
- sing hymns to honor the saints who have shown us the way to our God.
- lift up the names of those beloved to us in the midst of the Lord’s Supper.
- hear veteran lay leaders remember saints buried in our Memorial Garden.
- rededicate our Memorial Garden at 11 am (beyond the Morehouse Room).