Happy Halloween! Did you know that Halloween is actually drawn from a church Holy day? Halloween comes from the world hallowed or holy and come before the day we call All Saints day, or all hallows, or all holy ones’ day. The evening before is named for the Hallowed day which followed which is why it is called hallowed eve, or Halloween.
In the protestant church we shy away from the word saint, but words appears frequently in the new testament. Paul was constantly writing to the saints in Rome, or the saints in Corinth or sending greetings to the saints in Thessaloniki, etc. Paul used the word saint to refer to the faithful in the churches to which he wrote, and word he used which we translate as saint “saint” actually means, “holy ones” or hallowed. Paul understood the term to be much broader that we do today. Paul believed anyone who wanted to be God’s own, who was trying to love and serve God in Jesus Christ was a saint – one of God’s holy ones. Paul didn’t think these saints were perfect. In fact he spent most of his letters correcting the saints’ theology or telling them how to shape up in their Christian behavior. Paul simply knew that Jesus has called them to be part of his church and these folks had responded in the affirmative. They were among the saints of God.
One of my favorite hymns in Glory to God is “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.” You should read the text. I especially like the third verse. Here’s a link so you can listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qSPg-GETGo
I sing a song of the saints of God,
patient and brave and true,
who toiled and fought and lived and died
for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor, and one was a queen,
and one was a shepherdess on the green:
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean,
God helping, to be one too.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear,
and God’s love made them strong;
and they followed the right, for Jesus’ sake,
the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier, and one was a priest,
and one was slain by a fierce wild beast:
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least,
why I shouldn’t be one too.
They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes, or at sea,
in church, or in trains, or in shops, or at tea;
for the saints of God are just folk like me,
and I mean to be one too.
As you celebrate tonight by loving the children of your neighborhood, I suggest you give thanks for all the people who are saints in your life – who shared God’s love with you.
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