Saints & All-Saints Day

Some protestants (I happen to be one of those) have such an aversion
to anything that seems like saint-worship that when Catholic or other
church streams -look- like (or actually are) they are praying to
departed saints… or in what seems an un-biblical glorification of
these people… well, many protestants “throw the baby out with the
bathwater”.

I’m not arguing for Halloween -though a bit of candy and fun is not
automatic paganism either!

What do I mean?

The terms “saint” or “saints” appears some 96 times in our English Bibles.

The Hebrew (Old Testament) meaning includes “apartness, holiness,
sacredness, separateness” while the Greek (New Testament) definitions
are “awe, reverence, revere, most holy”. That is, true followers of
God, of the Lord Jesus Christ live in awe and reverence of God, they
walk in His holy way.

While there is plenty of scripture that clearly tells us nobody but
the Triune God should be worshipped and none that indicates praying to
the dead is o.k.- is there something really wrong, are we “in the
flesh”, sinning or somehow associating with the demonic if we set
aside time to remember godly people who have positively influenced our
lives for Christ? I think not.

While dentists and nutritionists and the police have due concern for
excessive candy consumption and the occasional vandal, party-kid or
addict with regard to Halloween, and while the day’s orgins are
certainly mixed with unscriptural weirdness, when one seeks to focus
on the true God and the Bible’s teachings we can benefit from
remembering and considering the lives of godly people who have gone to
be with the Lord ahead of us.

“By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
through which he had testimony given to him that he was righteous, God
testifying with respect to his gifts; and through it he, being dead,
still speaks.” (Hebrews 11.4)

Just as the above verse states regarding Abel, we’ve all been blessed
with those who are gone from the earth and yet their lives still
affect us in positive, deeply moving ways.

The older one gets, the more one realizes the wonderful influence
these men and women of God have had in our spiritual life.

For me, such people are St. Francis, Corrie Ten Boom, Bonhoeffer,
Wesley, Luther, Booth, A. W. Tozer, Fenelon, Mother Theresa, G.K.
Chesterton, Brother Lawrence and so many, many more I never got to
meet but expect to one day!

As I age I have an increasing list of personal friends who are gone
from this earth who all blessed me on many levels. I find it
significant to remember them and those special moments we shared.

One of the few memories I have of my grandfather John (my Dad’s Dad)
involves sitting in his lap as he daily read his Bible. By that time
he was a very old and rather quiet, kind man. I realize my Grandpa has
had a huge impact on my life.

I have my own “saint Francis” in a friend with whom I expect to
worship the Lord with around the throne in the future. He and his wife
and family participated in ministry with us and served our family
helping with our kids as REZ Band toured back in the day. For many
years Frank was indeed a witness to me (and so many others) of God’s
love and power as the change He worked in Frank was nothing short of
amazing! My memory of him is sweet and I’m so thankful for his life
and testimony.

Another “saint Francis” was a man who also served in community with us
for decades, coming from a drug/hippie lifestyle and into saving faith
that influenced his family and many friends toward following Jesus. We
shared a number of hobbies in common and I learned a lot about
creativity and “making due with what you have” from him.

Soon after his ordination, Denny (a JPUSA friend and pastor) was
called home to the Lord. He greatly impacted my life on a number of
levels and often blessed me with kindness and encouragement in moments
when I needed both.

As the years pass all of us will have to accept saying “Goodbye” to
loved ones, many of whom followed Jesus faithfully and who, like us,
with all of their eccentricities and flaws yet “speak” into our lives
by their godly impact via our memories.

Some on our list of saints left this world long before we were born or
perhaps we never met though they walked the earth during our own
lifetime.

Are all followers of Jesus truly “saints”? Yes, one can make a solid
biblical argument we are. At the same time there are some who have
more deeply influenced you and I than others. They may not be
“extra-ordinary”, surely they were not sinless or perfected in their
earthly lives yet they had a profound impact upon us with regard to
following God in love and integrity.

I think pausing and reflecting on such people is a very good practice,
with or without candy. Well… the occasional sweet treat is no sin
either 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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