Posted on in Sermons by The Rev. David Marshall
Year A, All Saints’ Sunday
One fine Sunday a small boy went to church with his grandfather. The church had many beautiful stained glass windows, and Grandpa pointed each of them out: St. Matthew, St. Luke, St. Mark, St. John, St. Paul, and so on. When they got home from the service the boy told his father about all those saints he had seen. The father, feeling a bit playful, asked his son, “What is a saint?” The boy didn’t miss a beat and quickly answered, “A saint is someone that the light shines through.”
I think that might just be a perfect definition for a saint: someone who the light shines through. On this All Saints Day, I want to talk about saints and light. We started the service by reading the names of all the saints who have gone before us. Then we heard Jesus’ beautiful opening of the Sermon on the Mount, the beatitudes.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
… (Matthew 5:1-12)
These are the people on whom God’s light shines: the poor, the mourning, the meek, and the hungry. It is not their status, or their power, or their wealth, or their connections that makes them the blessed ones – the ones on whom God’s light shines – they are blessed because of God’s love for them, their love for God, and their love for their neighbors. These unlikely people are the very saints that we celebrate today. Among our loved ones were the poor, the mourning, the hungry, and the meek. Among them were those who were pure in heart and peacemakers.
These poor in spirit, these who mourn, these hungry and meek – they are like you and me. God’s light shines on all of us and we can all be saints if we let that light shine through us.
That is what it means to Pay it Forward. You have been blessed – God’s light shines on you – and you magnify that blessing when you in turn bless others.
To be one of these blessed ones is not about appearances; it is about actions. To be one of these blessed ones is not about status or power or wealth or connections; it is about attitude. To be one of these blessed ones is not about how you spend your money; it is about how you spend your life.
Blessed are you. You have received God’s love. The light is shining on you. Now spend your life in loving God with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and loving your neighbor as yourself.
Blessed are you. The light of God’s love is shining on you, and you can let that light shine through you by paying it forward. You can be one of these saints by paying it forward.
The Rev. David Marshall
St. Dunstan’s Church, Shoreline WA
November 2, 2014