What do saints do? Saints, Catholic or otherwise, have stories attached to them. These stories share and reinforce Christ's teachings serving as a witness and a testimony of God's faithful work in the world. They are an important part of modern day faith because they aim to inspire and teach morals, theological ideas, and to provide faithful examples of what it means to be a follower of God.
As United Methodists we celebrate the saints on an annual basis after Halloween. For the most part, John Wesley cautioned against the celebration of the saints in fear that the saints would be too highly regarded and become idols. And yet, All Saints day was Wesley's favorite holiday! Wesley understood All Saints as an opportunity to give thanks for all those who have gone before us. It is a time for us, as a community of faith, to celebrate our history, our tradition. We are a part of a long history that goes back through John Wesley, to the early days of the church, the apostles, and all the faithful before them. When we celebrate the tradition of the church through sermons, prayers, books, music, and past Christian lives, we understand that each of those sources have understood the work of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit in their lives and expressions.
Who makes the cut as a saint? Alongside Paul, Martin Luther,and the Wesley brothers, Saints are family members, pastors, Sunday School teachers, and youth leaders who may have first introduced us to Christ or extended a kind gesture in love.Our Saints are those, both the living and who have passed on, who inspire us. They are who is reflected in our welcome statement, those of every race, faith, nation, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic background, and mental and physical ability. Join us over the next four Sundays as we celebrate the Saints in our lives.