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Unlikely Saints

For we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:5-6

Although I grew up as preacher’s kid (P.K.), I really didn’t know that much about the Bible. I had always assumed the Bible was like a manual on how to be good and follow the rules. I had pictured God as some kind of talent scout on a quest to find great moral athletes who would follow these rules to help His team win the battle.

Yet then I read about Abraham who, before becoming the “Father of Many Nations,” gave his wife to two foreign kings pretending that she was his sister. I discovered a stuttering, bad-tempered Moses who killed an Egyptian before he was called to lead God’s chosen people out of slavery. I was reminded that before becoming an Apostle of Christ, Paul was a persecutor of Christians and the early church.

Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that God could have been just a little bit pickier in His selection process! Yet what I’ve come to realize over the years is that these leaders/saints of the church were not called because they were perfect or because of their high moral standards. They were called because they were simple, ordinary, regular people that God intentionally chose to work through in order to accomplish His purpose.

There’s an old story about a mother who was telling her child about the stained glass windows in the church. The young boy wasn’t sure why all these people were pictured in the glass, so his mother told him, “These are all saints.” The boy replied, “Oh, I get it. Saints are people that the light shines through.”

I think this story reminds us of true discipleship and sainthood. The saints were not super-spiritual heroes who accomplished great things through their own power and strength. They were people just like you and me who allowed God’s light to shine through them. Maybe they weren't even aware of their own glow, but those around them could see it: in the way that they loved and cared for other people.

And I think that’s God hope for us today: to reach out and share God’s unconditional love with this broken world, and to completely empty ourselves and let God’s light to shine through us by His Spirit at work in us.
The Rev. Chad T. Martin
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