Summary: All Christians are ’saints’ but with broken haloes; God wants to restore and shine through us - see the story of Winchester Cathedral window.


Many years ago the bishops in England thought that there were so many good people to remember, that one day should be set apart commemorate all who had lived Godly lives, and so November 1st was designated as "All Saints Day".

When St Paul wrote his letter to the Christians living in Rome, the address he put on the envelope was "To all in Rome who are loved of God and called to be saints" (1:7). What he was saying is that they were "God’s friends". He knew very well that they didn’t go around with haloes around their heads! No, in fact he said of himself that he was "the least of all saints" (Eph 3:8). So although the Bible calls every Christian a "saint", we’ve got to admit that we’ve all got broken haloes!

This reminds me of a huge stained glass window in Winchester Cathedral in England. At the time of the Reformation, the Roundheads stormed into cathedrals, destroying religious symbols. They wrecked the beautiful window depicting saints. What could be done with the shattered fragments of the beautiful coloured glass? Sweep them up and throw them away? No, with love and care the people picked up the pieces and leaded the shattered glass fragments back in the window frame, just as they found them. And now, 400 years later, the sun shines through the same beautiful colours of fine, stained glass of the "mixed-up saints".

This is really a parable because all of us have failed God in many ways. We’re saints with broken haloes but he wants us to let him pick up the broken pieces of our lives, putting them back together, remaking us so that God’s light in Jesus can shine through us to a dark world.

(Sing the hymn by W W How, 1823-1897, ’For all the saints who from their labours rest’.)

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