Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a saint? One of the best descriptions I have ever heard came from the late Peter Gomes, who was a theologian and Dean of the Chapel at Harvard. Gomes wrote, “saints are those who aspire to the holiness of the Holy God whom they serve. Because the Holy Spirit dwells within them, they too are made holy. A saint, therefore, is one who reflects the sanctity of the God he or she serves: to be a saint in this sense is not a sign of perfection, but of fidelity.”
By his description, one does not need to be Mother Teresa, or Ghandi, or Martin Luther King, Jr. to be a saint. An ordinary person, like you or me, can be a saint. Being a saint requires that you reflect the holiness of God in your life and it requires faithfulness. You are a saint just by being your ordinary self and let God use you to accomplish extraordinary things.
So, I have been thinking this week about the people in my life who are ordinary by the world’s standards, who are saints, who are people who reflect the holiness of God. Today I think of Joan who did an extraordinary thing by accompanying our youth group on mission trips that helped us all to see the world with new eyes.
Joan is just one saint in my life, and there are so many more. If I have done my job, you are thinking of those ordinary people who have been saints in your life. Some are teachers, some are parents, some call us to remember the poor and hungry among us, some call us to awareness of the needs of the world, some are the ones who know what to say at just the right time, and some will simply sit with us when we need company.
In remembrance of All Saints Day on November 1st, we give thanks for each and every one of these saints and for the ways God worked and works through them to accomplish extraordinary things and for God bringing them into our lives to love and challenge us. On All Saints Day and every day, may we all know the power of being ordinary.