Saints Among Us

             Years ago I had purchased both the Oxford Dictionary of Saints and Butler’s Lives of Saints to add to my morning devotions. Along with reading the Scriptures I would look up the saint whose day it was on either the Roman Catholic or Anglican calendar so that I might grow from their heroic examples. They’d been recognized by the Church for something significant and I thought I should probably take notice, too.

            As time has gone by I’ve been widening that understanding and appreciation of the saints. I’d always known that Lutheran recognition that all who trust in Christ Jesus for the forgiveness of sins are the saints of God, even though on this side of the grave they will struggle with their sinful nature. But it’s been good to give that wider definition some intentional consideration.

            Who in your life has been an example of a child of God whose witness you’ve grown to appreciate? Have you had grandparents who shared a wonderful confidence that God will work these things out? Have you had parents whose stewardship or devotion were exemplary patterns to follow?

            On this All Saints’ Day I’m taking some time to give thanks to God for: Paul, and his extraordinary zest for working with junior high kids in Sunday School; Janice, whose love for her students was obvious; Alan, in the daily devotions he shared; Carlene, in her growing and vocal appreciation for the book of Romans; Jami, and her wonderful understanding of God’s presence in the difficult times when it appears one’s prayers are not being answered with a “yes”; Kent, and his whole life stewardship; and Arlene, whose counsel was to pray some more when you cannot get to sleep – and “There is nothing you can do that will make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do that will make God love you less.”

            I’m sorry to leave this list so incomplete. There are many, many more whose witness to me has helped me to grow in Christ, and I know I will find many, many more in this place. I pray that you can think of such people, today, and lift a prayer of thankfulness to God for His Spirit’s work in and through the saints in your life.