In the middle of this week which holds All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day, it’s a good time to pause and reflect on those who have gone on before us, as well as on the here and now. Whenever I come to this season of the year, in my mind’s eye, for just a moment or two, I think of Hebrews 11 and Revelation 7:9-17. As I browse through Hebrews 11’s “Saint’s Hall of Fame”, some are quite famous, known by their bold following after God and their gloriously huge failings in the midst of that struggle. Conversely, there are the unnamed ones often tortured, stoned, and persecuted. All are commended for their faith.
Down through the ages, I think of other saints: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, David Livingstone, the Wesley brothers, John and Charles, Florence Nightingale, Dag Hammarskjold, C. S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, Amy Carmichael. Such a myriad of saints of all shapes and sizes have walked across the stage of history.
Right this minute, some other names, more personal ones, come to mind. Who do you remember who has crossed over to heaven? Who do you think of who followed long and joyously after Jesus, who is right now in His presence?
Indeed it is this gallery of saints, a spiritual pep rally of sorts, this “great cloud of witnesses” of Hebrews 12:1-2, who are cheering us on as we run the race towards Jesus and with Him. And we are running, aren’t we? We are here and there, sometimes in circles, sometimes backwards, sometimes right up the steepest path available just to tumble straight down again in avalanche-style! Yet, even with all our antics, the saints of the past, the cloud of witnesses, are continually urging us ever upwards towards the Kingdom.
Most of the time, we tend to stop here and say “those” were the saints. But 1 Corinthians 1: 2 says it differently: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours.” (NASB) Other verses such as Acts 9:13, Ephesians 1:1, and Philippians 1:1 also call people SAINTS, all those who follow Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Today, pause and ponder this: you sit, walk, work, play, exercise, laugh among saints: Saint Janis, Saint Wally, Saint Loretta along with Saint Moses, Saint Paul, and Saint Peter, all who are Christ’s own through intimate relationship with Him as our heart’s lover.
As we approach this week full of All Hallows’ Eve and All Saints’ Day, let’s reflect not only on the saints that have gone before us who are cheering us on, but turn and look at those we walk beside today, greeting these our faithful saint-friends, just as Paul did in the start of his letter to the church at Ephesus and Philippi. Let’s sing and rejoice for we are the ones who have stood at the foot of the cross and at the empty tomb, we who have chosen Christ-following as our way of life, we are indeed the saints of God.
Lane M. Arnold
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