Busy busy day, which began with the 8.00 Eucharist...not a congregation that expects (or indeed welcomes) a sermon as a general rule, but as I stood there looking at that faithful group (just 27 this morning) it seemed that I couldn't not say something about the feast we were celebrating - so I did the unthinkable for me. I just spoke to them. No notes. No clear sense of quite where I might go...but a thought for the day, which I hope might remind them of something important.
"A saint is someone that the light shines through"
That’s my favourite definition, - attributed to a small boy who was stuck for an answer to the question
“What is a saint” as he sat in a church of many stained glass windows.
I love it because, like so much that children say about God, it summarises in one short phrase a most important truth.
Saint ARE people whom the light shines through…people whose lives radiate God’s love so clearly that they point the way to others.
We have, of course, the church’s canon of saints, people whose lives and witness we celebrate year on year, - but we have too those unsung, unknown saints who’ve inspired those who knew them – those who know them. The saints of our community are, in a way, represented by the gallery of pictures of your former clergy who look down on me as I robe in the vestry...men who lived and worked among you, trying with all their strength to be signs of God's Kingdom. But you'll have others too, ladies who taught you, or taught your children at Sunday school...a grandparent or an elderly aunt who spoke to you about Jesus or simply loved you in such a way that you knew yourself loveable always...
Those beatitudes we’ve just heard as our gospel reading say nothing about being blessed when you convert thousands at a great rally at Wembley Stadium…they fail to mention the need to write a life changing book that all the world will read…
Mostly they speak about things to which we could all aspire – to be pure in heart, to long for righteousness, to be merciful…
Added together, those aspirations make up a very powerful witness…Added together, they transform ordinary people, people like us, into saints that the light shines through.
This is our calling.
Later on at OpenHouse we explored our calling to be "lights that shine" a little more, looking at pictures of some stereotypical saints and then at some unsung saints from our ow community...We lit sparklers and enjoyed their effect in a dark church, but realised that they burned out very quickly - not the best metaphor for our calling....so we handed out glow sticks, which are still shining softly 5 hours on.
Finally at Koinonia we simply enjoyed the light from our sparklers, drawing wild patterns in the air and pretending that we were none of us grown up enough to worry about exams, jobs or the fact that tomorrow is Monday again.