Monday, April 11, 2016

Easter 16 Saints

Somewhere along the way, "saints" came to mean dead people, and in particular especially important or good dead people.

But in the New Testament, we most encounter the word when the writers are talking about living people. The first Christian writers didn't understand sainthood to be something that is attained at death, but that saints were alive now, the people of God.

I suppose there's nothing inherently wrong about thinking of the dead as saints---there is a mention of "the saints who have fallen asleep," sleep being the preferred euphemism for death. We lose something however, when we forget to speak of our fellow church members as saints.

And so as part of this discipline of celebration, I'm renewing my effort to remember that the pew where I sit on Sundays is full of saints. Next week, when I convene a new group in our congregation, I will celebrate their presence and call them "gathered saints."

The holy ones of God are not only in heaven. We are here. 

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