By: Barbara Edwards
The wind was blowing – the power was out – I sat down to read. During Lent I’ve been reading “CREED” What Christians Believe and Whyby Adam Hamilton. This book explores the Apostles’ Creed phrase by phrase. Today’s reading was entitled “Communion of Saints”. It’s important to remember that “saints” in the New Testament were not only those who had been canonized by the church after their death, but rather as Paul suggests, were all Christians.
Hamilton states that for Christians the word saint or holy refers to both a present reality and a future calling. Rick Warren says the call to be saints is, at its core, a call to the purpose for which God created us. It is a call to love God with all that is in us. It is a call to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Being a saint is not something we can simply try harder to do, though we should desire it and pour ourselves into the task. But ultimately being a saint, or the process of being transformed – of being “saint-ified” or sanctified – is only possible, Christians believe, by the work of the Holy Spirit.
Paul speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 3:18:
All of us are looking with unveiled faces at the glory of the Lord as if we were looking in a mirror. We are being transformed into that same image from one degree of glory to the next degree of glory. This comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
Throughout the morning as I worked in my house I kept passing a variety of mirrors. I couldn’t help but reflect on Paul’s words. How am I being transformed into the image of God? What is my present reality? What is my future calling? What is God calling me to do, to say, to be? Even though the wind was blowing outside I could feel the Spirit moving inside as I cleaned. What am I being called to do?
Through Lent I have tried to reflect on what am I doing that helps my neighbors. I’ve had lots of ideas but hadn’t carried through on any of them. Last year I went to a training session at “The Haven”, but then never volunteered. So I stepped out this year and have been serving breakfast each Friday morning to those that come in off the streets of Charlottesville. I am humbled by the generosity of the many that bring in food and by the appreciativeness of those we serve. I know there are other ways to love my neighbors and I believe God will show me what they are as I continue to listen and pray.
Saints throughout the history of the church were ordinary people who yielded their lives to God and ordinary people through whom God worked in remarkable ways; people whose lives came to be defined by the way that they loved. Chestnut Grove is also filled with saints.
I was reminded of this just this past Saturday night when a neighborhood gathered together to become better neighbors. Chestnut Grove hosted, along with the Earlysville Volunteer Fire Department, the coming together of Earlysville Heights. New and old neighbors met each other, most for the first time, and they shared a meal together. Conversations included how long you’ve been living in your current house, major health issues, and even baptism. Was the Spirit present and moving? I would have to say YES!
I believe we are all on a journey to discover the purpose for which God created us. This Holy Week we will travel together with Jesus to reflect on our current reality and our future sainthood. May the Spirit lead each of us and be with us daily.