by Pastor Mike Middaugh
Yesterday, November 1 was All Saints Day, here is a reflection for this sometimes overlooked day in the church calendar.
When you got up yesterday morning, did you pour a cup of coffee and think about or plan all the saintly things you were going to do? If so, you are better than me. I knew it was All Saints Day, and yet some of my first thoughts were not so saintly (it was a rough morning in the Middarreal houshold).
But, this coming Sunday we will recognize the All Saints holiday with remembrance, gratitude and joy. We will sing of all those “who from their labors rest” and recall loved ones whose example made a difference in our lives, and appreciate the contributions of those who have carried out God’s work on this earth over the centuries.
All Saints Day is not just a remembrance of those who have gone on before us. But we are also reminded that we, the everyday people here in the 21st century, distracted by a nasty election cycle and other dissapointments, are saints as well. We may not feel like it sometimes, and it seems presumptuous to imagine ourselves alonside the likes of the Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or Mother Theresa, but the good news is that sainthood is not something we earn through our own endeavors. Author Nadia Bolz-Weber writes in “Accidental Saints”: “. . . it has been my experience that what makes us the saints of God is not our ability to be saintly but rather God’s ability to work through sinners. The title “saint” is always conferred, never earned. Or as the Saint Paul puts it, ‘For it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.'” (Philippians 2:13)
So we can put both our guilt (at not living up to God’s call), and our modesty (in not wanting to think too much of ourselves) aside. We are saints. Get over it.
This All Saints’ Day is closely connected to our Reformation Sunday observance, as Martin Luther believed in “the priesthood of all believers” — that all Christians should have access to God through prayer and reading the Bible, without having to go through a priest. In Luther’s Large Catechism, he expresses his heart-felt conviction that God would continue to use his Word to speak to individuals and communities. He wrote: “God’s word is the treasure that makes everything holy . . . At whatever time God’s Word is taught, preached, heard, read, or pondered, there the person, the day, and the work is hallowed, not on account of the external work but on account of the Word that makes us all saints.”
We are Holy people, set apart for good work. Saints all. Now get on with the work God has appointed you.
Soli Deo Gloria. (To God Alone be the Glory)