Saturday, September 06, 2008

I Mean To Be One Too

Any idea what it takes to be a saint? Any idea who Lesbia Scott was? Was she a saint? Most people will not recognize her name, but I do. She wrote the words to one of my favorite hymns, one about saints - I Sing A Song of the Saints of God. It isn’t one we sing a lot. In most churches it is used only on All Saint’s Day (November 1st), if at all. The last line is “and I mean to be one too.” It is easy to sing, and the tune is nice, but I like it because of the message: anyone can be a saint. WOW! Imagine that! ANYONE CAN!

Hidden in the text is the implication that we will strive toward holiness and that the world will be a better place if we all practiced the Golden Rule. Do I always mean to be one too? I am probably not what most would call a saint, but I strive to show my faith in all I do.

I got thinking about this because the other day I was wondering why church attendance was down so much? Do fewer people believe? A week or so ago I officiated at a service that preceded a special gathering to which I had invited many people. Attendance at the service was more than twenty times what it usually is! People can come to church, but usually they don’t. Why? Instead of the Golden Rule, do folks have any kind of rule of life any more?

I know of some who are daily church-goers and others who go weekly. Some have a rule of daily prayer. Others pray several times a day. Some lead boldly, learn constantly, serve joyously and give generously. I know of living saints like San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Brother Richard Jonathan. I’m not sure that church attendance or a daily rule of life are what make them saints. The reasons are as varied as the individuals.

The hymn I mentioned at the beginning says “you can meet them in shops or at tea.” Indeed. True saints can be anywhere. They can be just plain folks like you and me, and that’s the way it should be.

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