Most of us, especially if involved with youngsters, will have been aware this week of Hallowe’en, with its strange and eerie customs. It is quite a commercialised celebration these days. In times past it was supposedly when the phantoms and ghouls had their spree before the traditional observance of All Saints’ Day on 1st November. We probably think particularly of the saints as celebrated figures from the early days of Christianity, along with those who afterwards followed in their footsteps by devoting their whole lives to the service of their faith – some as devout spiritual leaders, or others who became martyrs for their cause.
Actually we are all invited to be saints, if we go by the Biblical definition. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letters (preserved in the New Testament) to the first century Christian churches, he addressed the members of their congregations as ‘saints’. It was the term which signified ordinary people who had been touched by the message of God’s love, had responded to the call of the Christian gospel, and had committed themselves to the Lord Jesus through baptism. They were not ‘saintly’ in their everyday lives, in the sense of being faultless. Neither are those today who try to follow Christ. We won’t achieve perfection in this life – we still have our human nature, with all its flaws and foibles.
However, we can find peace of mind and divine forgiveness through the redeeming love of the Cross; and that can motivate us to make the best of our lives in finding a deeper meaning and purpose to benefit others as well as ourselves. Definitely not immaculate saints yet, but ultimately there is the prospect of being brought to perfection, through the transformation to be with Jesus himself immortally. ‘We shall be like Him’ the Apostle John assures all Christians. When Christ comes again in glory, bringing his promised Kingdom, there are many who would go along with the words of the well-known song, ‘When the Saints’ –
‘Oh Lord, I want to be in that number,
When the saints go marching in.’
We all have the opportunity now to accept the invitation from Almighty God to enrich and elevate our present lives, and then for us to be among the saints in a perfect and eternal future. That’s surely something worth reflecting upon.