Saints in Caesar’s Household

There is this line which jumps out at me in Paul’s letter to the people in Philippi,  All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar’s household.”  Philippians 4:22  It could not have been easy to be a Saint – a lover of Jesus – in Caesar’s household. One suspects  it was  not a place for the faint of heart – not when the world was suspicious of Christians. Living a life for Jesus in Caesar’s household, where brutality was more common than compassion, and the truths of a humble carpenter of Galilee alien, would take courage. Sacrifice, commitment, faith and determination would be required. Yet, Paul speaks of the Saints who lived and were called to serve in Caesar’s household.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer writes in her poem, *“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children. It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.”

When I think of saints in Caesar’s household, I think of those lovers of God who care for others and do that in the midst of health problems, difficult children, job stresses and economic ones. They continue to serve with achy bodies and emotional turmoil.  Irritating neighbors, frustrating co-workers not even family squabbles keep these saintly people from giving of themselves.   Sainthood is found in the middle of doctor’s bills, getting kids through school and  trying each day to love the people around them. Sometimes succeeding, while other times failing miserably, yet getting up and trying again. Because, this is who they are. They are indeed saints in Caesar’s household.

Most of those we name as saints will never be featured in a newspaper, or have buildings named after them. They are not or were not perfect people. Each carried their own share of flaws. We name them as saints because they loved us when we were most unlovable. Living their lives in quiet, unassuming ways . . . doing good, loving others, leaving behind gentle echos of God’s love. We remember these saints who lived lives of integrity, courage and faithfulness. All Saints is a day to honor and give thanks for the gifts they brought us. To give thanks for the time, energy, love and prayers they invested in us . . . To celebrate the goodness of their souls.

*Oriah Mountain Dreamer Poem “The Invitation”

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