All Saints’ Day, November 1st, isn’t for two more weeks, but I am hoping many of you will join me in paying tribute to a favorite saint and we need time to plan.
What is a saint? The word “saint”means holy and holy means something set apart. Something set these people apart and the world around them recognized a special quality in them. In the early years of Christianity saints (small s) became Saints (capital S) by acclamation of the people, much like many people thought Mother Teresa was deserving of the title Saint. With time, the Roman church set up a process which controlled who could be called a Saint. In our church, things are less codified, but if you look at an Episcopal church calendar you will notice a lot of interesting people listed as deserving of special recognition.
Saints are examples for the rest of us, not to be perfect, because certainly none of them was, but like the Saints in our stained glass windows which let the sun shine through, we need to let the Son shine through us.
The Saint I plan to honor on All Saints’ Day is Thérèse of Lisieux. She died very young of TB, but her route to canonization was meteoric. A young French girl, brought up in a very pious family, she always wanted to be a Carmelite nun. She modeled what those around her dubbed “The little way.” She sought holiness of life in the everyday. Whatever task she was given, she made every effort to do well. She sought to have good relationships with all with whom she lived, even the most difficult. She believed in the merciful nature of God, knowing she couldn’t be perfect.
You will notice on Sunday that the posters lining the nave have been reversed to show the motto from last year’s pledge drive. I think the message still applies. We are all trying to follow The Way, and if we all try to do our best by our parish, like Thérèse of Lisieux, each of us in a little way, the parish will flourish.
Who is a model for you? In the back of the church are a few books from our parish library featuring a variety of Saints. Maybe someone is there about whom you would like to read. Also, there are some sheets with symbols of the different apostles. If one of those is a Saint you would like to represent, help yourself.
If you really aren’t the costume sort, perhaps you could carry a symbol of your saint, pin a sign on your back, whatever works for you. And as Hans Lehmann pointed out last week when I urged the eight o’clockers to dress up, we are all lower case saints, because we are set apart from the crowd. We are not ashamed to admit we are Followers of the Way, Followers of Jesus Christ.
Claudia Ward, Senior Warden
All Saints’ Episcopal Church