Today is November 1st. Chances are the calendar that you typically look at is not a liturgical one, so you may not be aware that today is All Saints Day. This special holy day is set aside to remember and celebrate those who passed from this mortal earth and claimed a heavenly reward. In faith traditions with canonized saints, the celebrations of this day tends to focus on celebrating those saints. I am from the United Methodist tradition. We do not really recognized canonized saints, but we do commemorate All Saints Day. Often this takes the form of remembering and honoring departed members of the congregation.
I think a good way to celebrate All Saints Day is to tell stories. It does not matter if they have been officially canonized into sainthood or not, every church has stories of the saints. There are stories of dearly departed pillars of the church who lived out their faith. Sometimes these stories contain acts of incredible boldness. Other times they are stories of a quiet and persistent faith. In every other example, these are stories of saints who lived out the scripture found in Hebrews 12:2: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing out eyes on Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.”
In the original Star Wars there is a scene that I think illustrates why the stories of the saints are worth telling. The scene occurs right after Luke Skywalker meets Obi-Wan Kenobi. A secret message was just given by Princess Leia pleading for Obi-Wan to take the robot R2-D2 to the planet Alderaan. Obi-Wan tells Luke that he need to go with him to Alderaan, so that he too can begin the path of the Jedi. Luke’s initial response is that he cannot. He has too much work to do a home, it is too far away, and he just can’t get involved. Luke soon has a change of heart, and he goes on to become a hero that saves the galaxy. In the hut of Obi-Wan Kenobi he faced the same decision that all followers of Christ face. Do we get involved or not. The heroes of the faith, those who run the race with preservice, they are not special. They are not elite Christians that are above the common believers. They are simply people who are confident in what they hope for, who trust in the unseen, and who have chosen to get involved. They have chosen to have their faith not be one of theory that is practiced only by sitting in a pew, but they have chosen to make their faith one that is actively lived out in day to day life.
I do not know about you, but when the saints go marching in, I want to be one of them. May we choose to be the kind of Christians that get involved. May we live out our faith, may we confidence in what we hope for and confidence in what we do not see. May we run the race, and may we follow the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. As Christians we have the deep motivation of the love of God, we have our eyes fixed upon Jesus, and we are empowered and emboldened by the Holy Spirit. We love because he first loved us, so may we get out into the world and may we radically love other people. Today, let’s do more than remember the saints, let be the saints.