Saints and Hope

Another of the saints has gone on to glory.

There is a sign in front of the Baptist church on my road. Both sides can be changed to have different messages. This past week, the words go something like: every sinner has a future, and every saint has a past. I don’t always like what is written on the sign, sometimes just because the grammar is very poor, but this time, I think I like it.

I like it because it is a message of hope. I want to think that the writer is saying something about our collective identity. We all have a past, we all have a future, and because God is involved in our lives, we have hope.

Often, we talk about members of our churches as saints. We talk about how individuals have lived selflessly, and have given of themselves, and have been vital contributors to our communities. We have living, breathing saints in our midst. And we are the richer for it.

But they are not perfect. No one is. We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And actually, as I look at the saints around me, that gives me hope. We may not see the cracks, but we know they are there. I’m not hoping that anyone will fail, but when I see someone doing really well, if I compare my whole being to only the saintly parts that I can see of everyone else, then I rob myself of grace. The saints would be devastated if everyone only looked at their lives as an example of what we couldn’t do.

The saints in the glorious community of God have received grace, and continue to have grace extended to them. We are a part of that promise. And that is the hope.

I hope that when people look at me they see a life filled with grace. I would hope that they would see someone who is trying as hard as she can to live into the rhythm of grace. I would hope that they see a saint.

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