My uncle David had a wonderful sense of humor. After his pocket watch stopped working, he took it to a jewelry store to get it fixed. Discovering there was a fly in the back of the watch, he pondered on it for a moment and then announced. “No wonder it doesn’t work. The engineer is dead.” My uncle was one of the saints in my life. He was a rich treasure for me and for my cousins with his gentle teasing, loving presence, along with the acceptance and love he had for each of us. I think of him as a person through whom God’s light shined.
When the apostle Paul wrote to the people of Thessalonica, he started his letter by saying, “We always give thanks to God for all of you and mention you in our prayer.” I Thessalonians 1:2 One of the definitions of a saint is, “Someone in whose life the love of God is revealed.” I feel blessed to have had people who through their actions, showed me God’s love. I give thanks for their presence in my life, the place they held, good done through them and the grace they showed me. I am richer for having walked alongside these saints for a time.
Shortly before my uncle died, his congregation built a new church. At his funeral, I was intrigued by what appeared to be jewels in the stained glass window. I learned that the artist designed the window to represent Christ coming in glory. Jewels placed throughout the window are of various sizes and colors. They represent people going through stages of both life and faith. Each person is being transformed, growing more beautiful as they grow closer to Christ.
I thought how this represents all of us in the diverse places we are in our journey with Christ. Some have just begun to let God’s light shine through, and others are old hands at shining light into dark places. Each of us on that same journey, walking along paths saints have traveled before us. Every one of of us trying to live our lives with integrity and faithfulness. Some days doing better than others. Each striving to make room in our hearts for God to dwell and for God’s light to shine through us. Growing day by day into the likeness of Christ. Through challenges, struggles, and the myriad of difficulties life throws us, encountering Christ beside us. All the while, both joy and inner beauty filling us.
On this All Saints Day we give thanks for the saints in our lives even as we are invited to join them on the journey. For the world needs all the saints that God can muster. We’re welcomed to take our place in the multitude of the faithful, trusting God with tomorrow . . . touching others with loving kindness. And like all the saints who have gone before us, being transformed by the power of God’s Spirit, so God’s light might shine through each of us.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2