Last week we had a wonderful All Saints’ celebration, both during worship and in a beautiful All Saints’ concert on Sunday evening. As we honored the lives and legacies of those who have gone before us — and most particularly those who departed from this life during this past year — we paid tribute to those lives in a very special way.
What do you think of when you hear the word “saint?” Most of us tend to only think of saints as those faithful, extraordinary people who have died. And indeed, All Saints’ celebrations are centered on those who have gone before us. And yet, the New Testament use of the word “saints” goes much broader than that to include all people who are faithful followers of Christ and part of the church — not just those who have gone before us, but also those “living saints” who are all around us today. So biblically speaking, as faithful followers of Jesus we are all “living saints.”
But what does that mean? How does that designation apply to our lives today?
Ephesians says that “you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.” So as a community of faith we are called to follow in this legacy of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone or keystone.
As living saints we stand on this foundation of those who have gone before us in our faith and in our lives. Last week we honored those saints who have gone before us and those saints still with us who are faithfully using their gifts and graces to bless others.
We are all called to be living saints doing our part to build up the household of God, knowing that the cornerstone is Jesus himself. How and what we each build is up to us. We go about this building with our lives — our choices, our attention, our priorities — how we live every day of our life.
So, there is a very challenging question for us as living saints: As we go about living our lives in our families, our community, our church, our nation — and even as part of a global community — what is it we are building? What will be our legacy and contribution?
As we prepare for worship this Sunday, I’d like for us all to ask ourselves these questions:
What am I building with my life?
What am I doing with what God has put in my hands?
What am I going to do with what I’ve been blessed with?
This coming Sunday is also the culmination of our Stewardship emphasis for the coming year. We’ve been talking a lot during the past few weeks about Unbounded Generosity in a variety of ways that include our unbounded vision and our unbounded energy for good in our First Church faith community.
So here we stand. Living today upon the foundation of faith built by those who have gone before us. We celebrate not only those who were faithful in their stewardship of all they were blessed with, but how we are faithful in ours today.
As we enter the festive fun of this Sunday’s celebration on Fifth Street, I hope each of you has had a chance to reflect on your own gifts with gratitude for all you were given — and all the possibilities that lay ahead for each of us as a living saint.
I look forward to celebrating these gifts with you this Sunday, both in worship and afterward at our glorious celebration on Fifth Street!
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster,
So he [Jesus] came and proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him both of us have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.