Collect and Readings for All Saints Day, Wisdom 3:1-9, Isaiah 25:6-9, Psalm 24:1-6, Revelation 21:1-6a, John 11:32-44
The Prayer for today Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: grant us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living that we may come to those inexpressible joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
When we have the handed-down stories of the saints, and the stained- glass pictures of them with sun streaming through and bathing us in coloured light as we kneel, praying, it is perhaps inevitable that we think of the saints as a different breed from ourselves. With all the noble things they did and persevered at, it's somehow hard to imagine them doing ordinary things like getting irritated by the length of the queue at the checkout or shouting at the children. We rather imagine them unruffled by the things which give us most grey hairs, sailing through their deep, spiritual sufferings, helped by some saintly gene we haven't inherited.
Perhaps the most important thing we celebrate today is that, however we have since reworked their lives, and however beautiful their monuments, saints begin as ordinary as the rest of us, and it is just possible for all of us to be saintly as it was for them and everyone else in their class at school. But would we want to be? Even the word 'saintly' has unfortunate connotations for some, suggesting an insufferable 'goody goody' character and a loss of contact with reality to be avoided at all costs.
Wrong again. Real saints have their feet fixed firmly in the real world, lov and no one can side-step that requirement.ing and appreciating it. They are people taking the 'Love God; love one another' code seriously, and you can't do that from an ethereal distance. Loving means getting involved, getting hurt, seeing the funny side (sometimes), learning from your embarrassing mistakes and all your experiences. These are real, ordinary people with their individual ways and habits, and lots of times in their lives when they had no idea what the next step should be.
The point is that they became saints through living ordinary lives, closely in God's company. The refining of lives takes place through living, and no one can side-step that requirement. As Jesus said, if we try to protect and shield our life we end up not keeping it safe but losing it. It is those who daily give it joyfully away who end up gaining the heavenly life which lasts for ever.
Some things to reflect on:
If your life was in a book of saints, what would you like it to say about you?
Which saint do you particularly enjoy and why?
God bless and stay safe and well.
Rev'd Fiona Robinson