New Episcopalians are sometimes surprised to discover that Roman Catholics aren't the only Christians who have a high regard for those mighty men and women of God who have preceded us in the faith - people we call saints.
While Episcopalians do not have an official canonization process and are not well known for elaborate veneration, we do have a formal, though modest collection of saints we routinely recognize in public and private worship. These are devout Christians, ancient and contemporary, who have excited us in our faith journeys and whose witness continues to model exemplary behavior for us. A newly revised collection of these heroines and heroes of the faith can be found in the book ‘Holy Women, Holy Men’ – and is available here http://tiny.cc/hy7sa
As we may already know, the word 'saint' appears 60 times in the New Testament, and it refers to all followers of Jesus – if we’re believers, we’re saints. What’s curious about this is that when you and I are called ‘saints’ we often bristle or belittle the term. Maybe we think we’re not good enough. Or maybe we don’t want to be good enough. Years ago basketball star Charles Barkley famously shunned his celebrity status saying, he didn’t want to be a role model. But, like it or not, NBA stars are role models. Like it or not, Christians are saints. We’re people who have been called and have chosen to believe in Jesus, and this affords us a certain place in the eyes of God, and others.
So how can we live up to our status as saints? Do we have to do anything special? This is a good excuse, on this All Saints’ Day, to study up on the life of a saint. Is there a particular saint who’s touched your life? Why not tell us about it on the home page.
As an aside, there’s a new website up, that’s designed to briefly outline the Episcopal faith for newcomers and inquirers. Feel free to visit it, set up a link on your parish website, or pass it along to a friend. It’s at www.jesuswasanepiscopalian.org