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Saints Among Us

cross in brick at christ church

 

“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.

USAFA chapel

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.

 city scape

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.”

Stream 2

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.

count your blessings

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.

 water lily reflection

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.

 Slow

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.

 frog on bicycle

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.

 rainbow

“In his holy flirtation with the world, God occasionally drops a pocket handkerchief. These handkerchiefs are called saints,” Buechner states.

purple and white flower

My pockets are full of handkerchiefs He’s dropped along my life this All Saints Day.

 

How about yours?

 

 

Resources:

Another post I wrote about saints:  http://lanearnold.co/saints-abound

 

http://www.amazon.com/I-Sing-Song-Saints-God/dp/0819215619

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

http://www.amazon.com/Wishful-Thinking-A-Seekers-ABC/dp/0060611391/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1383313990&sr=8-1&keywords=wishful+thinking

 

© Lane M. Arnold, 2013

 

 

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lane,
    This is heartfelt and encouraging…Thank you for being one of the saints I have been blessed to know via the gift of TSP classes 🙂

    November 1, 2013
    • Lane #

      Your life shines with the love of our Lord. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you, Saint Dolly.

      November 1, 2013
  2. Edna #

    I was already basking in the love of God but this brought me to joyful tears!! My Mom once sang a song that had these words:
    “Give, Give me my flowers while I yet live
    so that I can see the beauty they bring.
    Speak, speak kind words to me while I can hear them
    so that I can hear the comfort they bring.”
    Thank you for such comforting, encouraging and exhorting words.
    You are a saint!!

    November 1, 2013
    • Lane #

      Saint Edna, you bask well in God’s love. I enjoy being in your presence. I like the words to the song your mother sang you…a good reminder to offer beauty and encouragement now while we can.

      November 1, 2013
  3. This is as lovely a tribute to All Saints’ Day as I’ve ever read. Having grown up in a church which was pretty skittish about things like liturgy and talk of saints, I appreciate your words here about what these things mean–what they call us to consider and remember.

    And I love me some Buechner.

    Dear friends of mine live in the shadow of the AFA campus and watch from their back deck as paratroopers practice their jumps. Another friend served in campus ministry with the academy. What a stunning cathedral.

    November 2, 2013
    • Lane #

      I’m delighted you showed up over here…it’s been good to be with you at the writing place.

      I didn’t grow up with liturgy or talk of saints but over the years, the mystery and prose of it has stretched me into new places, a poetry of the heart, I suppose.

      Buechner is a favorite of mine as well. I’d love to write in his style…so witty and thought-provoking.

      AFA is dear to us in many ways…we once lived in an area close to where your friends must live. If you ever get out this way to see them, let me know and I’ll come chase you down.

      November 3, 2013
  4. Jane Patton #

    Beautifully expressed, Lane. “Saint”–like all most beautiful realitities has been so distorted by our sin and by the enemy of our souls. I, too, like Buechner; Godric is one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read.

    November 3, 2013
    • Lane #

      Saint Jane, good to hear from you. I haven’t read Godric…will add to my to-read list. Love to all of you and yours!

      November 3, 2013
  5. Lane – What a wonderful tribute and beautiful way to celebrate the saints through the ages. This cloud of witnesses we find ourselves in is encouraging and challenging and hopeful.

    Thankful to counted among your saints this year. You are a saint to me!

    November 3, 2013
    • Lane #

      At times, I find that it is easy to get stuck in the muck of each day. When I look up and see whom God has placed around me, the beauty really is astounding. I’m so thankful for the saints of long ago and the saints of here and now…like you!

      November 4, 2013
  6. Lane this is eloquent and tender and just pours out from the places of your heart with such beauty. Thank you for your gracious references to the people in your life. Blessed to know you and walk out this writing journey with you.

    November 6, 2013

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