When I stop to think about our Sunday gatherings at churches all over the world, it seems like they’re sort of like one big reunion of saints. And just like family members at a reunion reminiscing, we come to hear about where we came from. We look at the lives of those who have left us recently as well as those who left us years, decades or even centuries ago.
And as we hear the Gospel proclaimed we learn from the mistakes of our ancestors in our faith family. We learn from them, and then, by grace, we strive to come closer to the example of Christ they demonstrated. We learn how to respond as saints to God’s blessings in our lives.
Responding as saints to God’s blessings happens when:
• We share God’s love with others. We’re responding as saints when we’re hungry for God and share that enthusiasm with others.
• We feel the pain and sorrow God feels for people who are hurting. These are the people God loves, and we need to show them our love, too.
• We stay focused on spiritual wealth so that money loses its power over us. As we practice generosity, we lose the desire to accumulate more than we need, and find that we really need considerably less than we thought we did before.
• We affirm that every human being is loved by God and is worthy in God’s sight, so we stand up to injustice with love and generosity.
Here’s the thing, we’re saints because we’re sinners. Sinners who’ve been forgiven and loved and graced into sainthood. It’s got nothing to do with what we do, and everything to do with who God is. God loves us. God made us for that very purpose, so He could love us, and we could love him.
God loves us enough to forgive us for being too satisfied with ourselves. For feasting while others go hungry. For hoarding our wealth while others have nothing. He even loves us enough to forgive us for everything we’ve ever done to separate ourselves from Him. If we’ll only ask for His forgiveness, He’ll forgive. God loves us enough to transform us from sinners into saints.
As we celebrate All Saints Day each year, we join the great company of saints who have gone before us, and the great company of saints who will come after us. All of us forgiven. All of us loved to our very core. We come together to remember that God’s love isn’t limited by our standards because through his Son, Jesus Christ, God is setting a new standard: love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who abuse you.
To put it simply, treat others as you would have them treat you. Do to others as God has already done for you. Not so you can become a saint, but because in God’s eyes, you already are.