As I walk through my church building, I see people who have led the church, whether it was as pastors, or trustees, as Sunday School teachers or the silent supporters in the background. I know many of them by name because I’ve met them, but I also have come to know many of them because of the stories that living church members tell about these departed faithful who have gone before.
In less than three weeks, our church will recognize our deceased “saints,” those who have led us in the faith, who taught us Sunday School or took us to church, who raised up God in our lives so that we might come to know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We’ll put their pictures on the altar, and light candles to their memory, and we’ll consider the way that they impacted our lives, eternally.
I used to think that was too “Catholic,” too high church. Now, I find great comfort in reflecting on their value and meaning, and find the day we spend celebrating them to be much more spectacular than Halloween, much more beautiful.
But what if one day isn’t enough?
I wonder what it would look like if we honored our saints before they were our saints, before they passed on. What would happen if we recognized them by telling them what they meant to us? What would happen if we actively looked to share our faith with others because of them, honoring God and them, too?
Too often, I think we assume that people know how we feel, and wait until it’s too late to really articulate it. And I think we assume that someone else will be the one who shares their faith and makes a difference, that we couldn’t possibly be who God expects or plans to use the way that he used angels to announce the birth of Jesus, or Philip to speak to the Ethiopian eunuch he’d never met, or Paul to stand on trial for his faith. We always think it will be someone else.
What if we remembered our saints by emulating them? What if we remembered them by becoming saints ourselves?
Leave a story of a “saint” in your life below, and better yet, if you’re able, call them today and tell them what they mean to you.