O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
All are one in Thee, for all are Thine.
Not too many saints revered in Methodism… with the possible exception of John and Chuck… And it only takes a news story about some recently demised Catholic being put on the “fast-track to sainthood” brings out the ultra-protestant in me, foaming at the mouth about scripture regarding all followers of Christ as "saints..."
Saints aren't a special category of Christian, with a backstage pass for heaven. We're all that curious mixture of saint and sinner... Struggling (feebly) with our sinfulness, but hopefully with the "Holy" Spirit, at work within and through us, perfecting us...
In the early church each local church had its own list of deceased saints who were celebrated at certain times of year. The reason for the development of a "canonisation" process was an attempt to standardise those saints revered and used as an example for aspiring saints. Yet there is an extent to which I think we should get back to that pre-standardised approach. To celebrate and give thanks for the local saints who now in glory shine, inspiring us. In one Methodist Communion liturgy the prayers of intercession end by saying:
"In you Father, we are one family in earth and heaven.
We remember in your presence those who have died...
giving thanks especially for those who have revealed to us your grace in Christ.
Help us to follow the example of your saints in light
and bring us with them into the fullness of your eternal joy,
through Jesus Christ our Lord."
So today, lets give thanks for that long list of brothers and sisters in Christ who have helped shape us, and have gone ahead of us to the next episode...
(ps. If you want cheered up... check out this previous post...)