Summary: A sermon for All Saints.
"What Makes a Saint?"
One day a man was walking through a beautiful church building with his 4-year-old son.
As they walked, the young boy looked around.
He stopped and was curious about the stained glass windows that looked so beautiful with their bright
As he looked at the windows, he asked, "Who are all the people in the windows, daddy?"
"They are Saints," said the father.
"What are Saints daddy?," the kid asked.
The father was stuck.
How was he going to explain who saints were to a four year old boy?
As the boy was still looking up at the
windows and the father was still wondering how he would explain who saints are, the young boy suddenly shouted out, "I know who saints
They are the people that the light shines through."
Quite often we think of saints in the same way we may think of angels or, at the very least, only the very, very well-known people from the past such as Saint Francis or Mother Teresa.
But in the Bible, a saint is simply a follower of Jesus Christ.
They become saints by being born again by the Holy Spirit, which can only happen through God.
The people described as saints in the Bible were still very much human.
They were called, they were holy, and they were extremely dedicated (both in terms of attitude, and in the sense of being set apart), but they were still real people, far from perfect.
They were fishermen, farmers, tent makers, doctors, teachers, carpenters, former prostitutes, extortionists, outcastes, robbers--you name it!!!
They weren't infallible, and sometimes they disagreed with one another.
They weren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination.
They were on a journey...
...the journey of following Jesus...
...the journey of learning to be more and more like Jesus...
...which means, becoming more and more loving, less and less judgmental, more and more accepting of others, and less and less condemning of others.
As far as The Bible is concerned, Jesus is Perfect, but Jesus' people, were and are not perfect.
As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13: "Now we see a reflection in a mirror; then we will see face-to-face.
Now I know partially, but then I will know completely in the same way that I have been completely known."
Just think of all the mistakes the Apostle Peter made...
They learned as they went.
They learned from their mistakes.
They learned by allowing Christ to forgive them, by accepting Christ's forgiveness and moving on in Christ, in love.
I mean, think about how radically we, as Christ's followers are called to live.
In our Gospel Lesson this morning from Luke Jesus says:
"Love your enemies.
Do good to those who hate you.
Bless those who curse you.
Pray for those who mistreat you.
If someone slaps you on the cheek, offer the other one as well.
If someone takes your coat, don't withhold your shirt either.
Give to everyone who asks and don't demand your things back from those who take them.
Treat people in the same way that you want to be treated."
If we were to read on we would find that we are also called to "lend expecting nothing in return..."
We are called to "be kind to ungrateful and wicked people..."
We are called to "Be compassionate just as [God] is compassionate..."
We are not to "judge," nor are we to "condemn" others.
Raise your hand if you live like that all the time!!!
And still...God calls us saints!!!
All the words in both Greek and Hebrew that are used in the Bible and are translated into the word "saint" all have the same definition.
According to the Bible a saint is someone who is sacred, holy, pure, blameless, dedicated.
Of course the word "holy" doesn't mean "perfect"...
...it means "set apart."...
..."set apart to serve God."
And the only way people can be "pure and blameless" is through the blood of Jesus shed on the Cross covering and washing away the stain of their sins.
Now that's interesting.
Yes, a saint is dedicated.
A saint may fall down, but a saint gets back up again.
A saint may fall into sin, lose their temper, hurt another by word or deed, but a saint asks God for forgiveness, accepts that forgiveness and asks God for the strength to grow in love.
That's what it means to be "dedicated."
A dedicated follower of Jesus Christ may not always love their enemies, but that is their goal.
When they find that they cannot love their enemies, they ask God for God's love to overcome their anger and hatred.
When they find it difficult to pray for those who mistreat them, a dedicated follower of Jesus Christ prays for those who mistreat them anyway.