“I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew…”
When you hear the word “saint,” what comes to mind? For me, quite often the concept of a saint is that of someone so high, holy and revered, someone so perfect that they seem somehow above the rest of us, someone, in other words, quite unlike me.
However, when Lesbia Lesley Scott wrote I Sing a Song of the Saints of God, her intention was simple: to ensure that her children knew that saints live here and now among us, not just then and there in some distant lofty past. Her lyrics speak of folks from all walks of life: a doctor, a queen, a shepherdess, a priest, a martyr, herself; found in the common places we might each inhabit: schools, streets, seasides; doing ordinary things in ordinary places such as in shops or at tea. They are saints, not because they are so perfect but because they have responded in love to the Lover of their souls.
The Old and New Testaments mention saints at least sixty-nine times. In the Old Testament, saints were ordinary folks who belonged to our extraordinary God, His covenant people. In the New Testament, the word saint refers to those who are set apart as Christ’s own forever by the presence of the Spirit within them.
In case that feels a little too high and mighty, Frederick Buechner reminds us that “the feet of the saints are as much of clay as everybody else’s,” which we surely see when we read the antics of these rabble-rousers, or if we just look in the mirror. He does, however go on to distinguish these saints in one more way: “…saints are essentially life-givers. To be with them is to become more alive.”
On this All Saints Day, I am again reminded how I am such a blessed woman, for I live among saints who invite me to life.
I live among folks who dive heart-deep into Jesus, leaping up into healing and freedom as crisp and wild and brave as Isaiah 61 shouts. I pray among splendorous intercessors who dance and bow with their eyes full of glory, bringing heaven to earth in their heartful declarations.
I write among playful women whose words offer the raw and the radiant. I create among winsome poets and artists who glow and ache then offer those moments forth to be pondered.
I minister among canyon-carved spiritual directors, ones stilled and quieted enough to watch for the second sight Jesus touches to blinded eyes. I watch and wait among those engraved by waiting’s long shadows.
I laugh and cry and dream and hope and pray, pray, pray among beloved children grown and delightful grandchildren growing, with a husband as rambunctious as any rugby player and as big-hearted as the horizon is vast.
I become more alive because of those who invite me into their stretching, suffering, sanctifying places where they walk in tears and laughter with the One who is our heart’s desire. I stay more alive because of those who walk with me in the shadows and the sunshine of my heart’s landscape, reminding me that my holy passion of intimacy with Jesus is the One Thing that really matters.
“In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a pocket handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints,” Buechner states.
My pockets are full of handkerchiefs He’s dropped along my life this All Saints Day.
How about yours?
Another post I wrote about saints: http://lanemarnold.com/saints-abound
http://www.hymnary.org/media/fetch/139944 : I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
Buechner, Frederick. Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1993. Page 102
© Lane M. Arnold, 2013