On The Journey of
This week, school and church communities across our Association celebrate All Hallows’, All Saints’, and/or All Souls’ Day. But who or what is a saint? Initially, we may be tempted to focus on “exemplary” Christians, like those enumerated by Paul in Hebrews 11. But as we reflect on these heroes of the faith, we notice a recurring refrain as each “saint” in the great cloud of witnesses is introduced by a simple but powerful phrase– “By faith…” This phrase reminds us that these saints were certainly not perfect. Rather, each of these have attained “saint” status through a process of becoming, “by faith,” and through the grace of God. Clearly, these are not stories of perfection and great personal accomplishment. These are stories of God's unfailing love and grace! In other words, by allowing some aspect of God’s grace to shine brightly in their lives, to be seen and acclaimed by many others, these imperfect and flawed children of God have become to be recognized as saints! Perhaps then a saint is simply someone on the journey of becoming, by faith and grace through Jesus Christ, what God is by nature–holy and perfect.
As part of these celebrations of saints, school and church communities likely also recited the following words from the Apostle’s Creed:
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.
As we recite these words from the Apostle’s Creed, we are affirming our belief that all Christians that ever lived, are living, and will ever be, are bound together and belong to one community (common union, or Communion) – the Body of Christ. As Episcopal schools, we are in the business of helping students, faculty/staff, and families experience authentic belonging along this shared journey of becoming and believing. Throughout this journey of belonging, becoming, and believing, our job is to simply “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves,” by faith, in a way that allows God’s grace to shine brightly!
In closing, may we all go forth on our own journeys of becoming with these words from “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God” on our hearts and lips:
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.
Rob Devlin, Executive Director