Daily Devotion 02 November 2020

Create a peaceful space to pause, and allow yourself to feel God’s presence alongside you, as near to you as your own breath. In following the reflection below, as a church we will draw closer to God and to one another as we grow in faith and deepen our sense of belonging to God.

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 ‘Dear Corinthians’

1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes: 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, together with all those who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Many years ago, preparing for an All-Saints tide service, I audaciously ventured out amongst high street shoppers, armed with a small tape-recorder and asked passers by what they understood by the word “saint”…

“A guy in a stained glass window”,
“St Francis”,
“a Southampton footballer”
“a bloke with a halo”

…were some of the answers.

Whenever I have read about the classic stained-glass window saints of old, I have learnt that they were by no means perfect. Some gave their superiors a hard time, others were not easy to live with and a number of them had to move on from a past failure or overcome (or live with) some particular weakness. Many were ‘alternative’ in some way or other. All had some attribute that benefitted others.

At Emmanuel, we give thanks for many friends from our four contributing churches who have ‘passed on’, leaving us with special memories and appreciation of their particular gifts and graces.
The initial greeting often used by St. Paul in his letters to the early churches suggest that he recognised all the members as ‘saints’…not just potential saints but ‘here and now’ saints.

Likewise, may we recognise and give thanks for the ‘saints’ we meet at Emmanuel and elsewhere. ‘Saints’? Yes, though none of us are perfect, all of us have some particular quality that can enhance the ‘common good’. For Christians, the template for our lives is of course Christ himself.

In my street interview I asked a follow-up question: “Would you like to be a Saint?” Most of the answers were predictable: “No way! That’s not me!”, “Too good to be true”, “Chance would be a fine thing!”. Then a small child smiled and said: “Yes, I would like to be a saint. That would be fun” …and those words made me smile too.

Prayer:

For all the Saints who from their labours rest, we give thanks.
For the empowering kindness of strangers and friends, we give thanks.
For the example of Jesus who guides and inspires, we give thanks.
As we offer ourselves to be saints alive!

Address © 2020 Gordon Harrison.
Image one freely available online.

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