Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Yesterday (November 1) was All Saints Day, in the Church calendar. It’s a day when we make space to remember and celebrate those who have died—the ones we love and miss, and the “great cloud of witnesses” that we never even knew: the everyday saints who have played their small part in the great story of God’s love for the world.
It’s also a day when we remember that we are each called to be saints. Or, more accurately, that we are saints—not because of anything we’ve done, but because God says so. Biblically speaking, the process of "sanctification" (becoming saintly, holy) is not changing into something we are not. It's to become most fully the people who God, in love, has made us to be: people shaped in the name and way of Jesus.
St. Paul, the author of several of the letters in the New Testament, begins all his letters by calling those to whom he is writing “saints.” For instance, the beginning of the Letter to the Ephesians goes like this: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus and are faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
All his letters begin something like that. Sometimes the rest of the letter is spent dressing down a local church for living in ways that don’t reflect their true saintly nature—living lives of greed and anger, bitterness and betrayal, lust and licentiousness. Other times he celebrates their steady faithfulness. And sometimes he just writes to remind them of who and whose they are, chosen and beloved in Jesus, because that's not always easy to remember. But whatever the case, he never shies away from calling the folks he's writing to "saints." Because that’s what they are, because God says so.
The Letter to the Ephesians is an exploration of what it means to live into our God-ordained saintly identities. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to work our way through the letter, adventuring in the Way of Life that God has made for us in Jesus, and sustains in us through the intimate presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
Hope you’ll join us on the way!