Who are the saints?

Rev. Richard WebbDear friends ,

I remember the young man who lived opposite us when I was about 4, who encouraged my brother and me to join The Boys’ Brigade, (a Christian Youth Organisation); my Sunday School teacher ; my Life Boy Leaders; my BB Captain; the organiser of BB Camp; many of my school teachers; my headmaster and my wood work master.

AND of course, through all this were my parents who always encouraged me to go to Sunday School and BB week after week.

There have been others, of course, who helped mould and shape me: teachers at College; older and more experienced clergy who were my mentors, especially those first few years out of theological college; my wife and her parents and family and many, many others.

These are some of the saints in my life who helped bring me to where I am today in my faith-journey with God.
You will never read about them in any church history book.
There will never be any days of commemoration in the church calendar set aside to honour and remember them. No, they are just ordinary folks like you and me, but in the course of seeking to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ, in striving to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, strength, and mind, they ended up touching my life in ways that changed me and had a profound effect on who I am today.

You know, I really can’t remember any one thing in particular that they taught me, but I do remember them. I don’t have a very good memory for names, so for me to remember someone from 30, 40 years ago means they must have been special to me.
Somehow, by their example and witness and faithfulness to the love and grace of God, they made an indelible mark on me.

What about you? Who are the ones you remember? Who are the saints in your life who brought you to where you are today?

Some of them are long gone and long forgotten, others are more recently departed and some of them are still alive and still play a part in our lives. Like a stained glass window in church depicting the saints of times past, what makes them a saint is that the light shines through.

But as we remember the special people in our lives, the question that we must face is, “Will anyone remember me?
Will I be remembered with fondness and gratitude and thanksgiving 10, 20, 40 years from now?”

Think about this for a minute: We have encountered lots and lots of people in our lives – relatives, friends, colleagues, teachers, neighbours – lots of people.
Why is it that some of them stand out in our memories, while so many others are just there?

What makes the difference in how we remember someone?

One of the keys is found in Matthew 5:1-12 where Jesus begins the Sermon of the Mount with the familiar Beatitudes.

Vanmáttug by Sara Björk

photo: Vanmáttug {a title="Attribution License" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en_GB" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" }some rights reserved{/a} by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/aegishjalmur/"}Sara Björk{/a}

Jesus tells us:

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit
  • Blessed are those who feel the weight of the world’s suffering,
  • Blessed are the humble,
  • Blessed are those who hunger and long for what is right and good,
  • Blessed are those who show mercy and compassion,
  • Blessed are the ones who are pure in heart, who don’t have any room for bitterness or anger or avarice,
  • Blessed are those who work for peace and reconciliation in the home, the church, the community,
  • Blessed are those who are willing to accept the ridicule and derision of others in order to stand up for what is right and good as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

The people that I remember were people like that!
And I suspect that the people that you remember share those same qualities and characteristics.

And so once again that question, “Will I be remembered?
Will we be remembered in the years to come?
And, how will we be remembered?”

Doesn’t it seem to make sense that if we want to be remembered in the same way that we remember with gratitude and thanksgiving the saints in our lives, then we need to be developing those same traits and qualities and characteristics that Jesus holds out before us today?

The kindness of strangers by Ed Yourdon

photo: The kindness of strangers {a title="Attribution License" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/deed.en_GB" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" }some rights reserved{/a} by {a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/"}Ed Yourdon{/a}

We are called to be loving, kind, compassionate, generous, faithful people.
This is the way God created us to be, and when we are anything less than that, we diminish our own lives, and we diminish the lives of those around us.

But when we live according to God’s will, we end up experiencing life to it’s fullest, and we bring joy and happiness to those around us. Those are the kind of people that we remember!

Why will we be remembered ?

Yours in our Lord’s service
Richard