All Saints Day is today on the Christian calendar. What is a saint? Is it a work you achieve or a title bestowed upon you by the Pope? Is it an honor or a privilege? Paul would sometimes address letters to a house church like this, “All the saints send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.” (Phil 4:22) The Reformers called the saints, “true believers.” Martin Luther was famously quoted as saying that we are saints and sinners at the same time. Sainthood is a gift, privilege, and a responsibility given to those who embrace life with faith, trust, and hope and share that with the least, the last, and the lost. It is our privilege to remember those who have gone before us and forged the way to make this world a better place. We may have parents, grandparents, great grandparents, sons or daughters, aunts or uncles, friends or colleagues who now rest in the eternal embrace of the ages but who did not think only of themselves but thought of others first. They thought, “How can we make this a better world for our children and grandchildren? How can we make this better for our neighbors?” They didn’t do it for praise or money but because it was the right thing to do.
So today is a day to remember and to act. No one strives for sainthood. You may have said to someone before, “I’m no saint.” That, my friend, may be the first indication that you are one. When in humility you recognize that you do not earn the title you humbly go about your work – God’s work – and make this a better world for others.
Over fifty lives were lost in the hurricane on the east coast of the US. Yet, dozens of lives are lost daily to gun violence, child abuse, and other acts of violence. I praise those who daily seek to make their neighborhoods safer places to live and I praise those who work to end hunger among the most vulnerable in society. Violence does not just come in the form of a storm. Be bold in your actions saints of God – not to earn a title or crown – but because you can and because it is right. Let your Creator do the honoring.