Mothers’ Union Devotions Sunday 1st November – All Saints Day
Remember those days when we could travel. Holidays near and far, new adventures, new people to meet, new places to explore. In September 2019 (it seems a lifetime ago!), we went to visit La Vallée des Saints in Brittany. A sculpture park with over 160 giant carved representations of mostly local saints. The statues are 3 to 4 metres high – some quite recognisably human, others more abstract. But the sculptors have not finished yet. The plan is for a thousand statues – a thousand local saints. The creators of this park admit some of the saints are only known by the place names they have inspired. All the other details of their lives are buried in the midst of time.
Such people must have been quite special in their local communities. Memorable enough to warrant not only the use of their name for the village or hamlet but also the title saint. Maybe they were the visitors who brought Christianity to these places or maybe they were local people who shone with the light of Christ in all they said and did. Perhaps they spread the good news of Jesus when they fed the poor, healed the sick, comforted the bereaved or stood up for justice and righteousness.
The world may have changed dramatically since this great age of the saints but the call to bring the light of Christ into our communities has remained unchanged. Over these couple of days, we remember those who have gone before us, as we celebrate All Saints and All Souls days. As we think about their lives, we contemplate the great faith shown by the universally famous giants of Christianity and of the many individuals that we have known personally. Sainthood is not about worldly recognition but about individual responses to the call from Jesus.
St Paul uses the term saint when he greets the faithful in his letters. The use of the word saint, however, has evolved over the generations to mean someone perfect, so I do not think it would be easy to reclaim it out in the world today. That does not stop all of us striving to behave as faithful saints, faithful followers of Jesus. Spreading the message of our loving Lord throughout our lives in our interactions with others. Even if at the moment, they are restricted to encounters over the phone, on the computer, at the doorstep or in the local essential shops.
I pray you are all keeping safe and dry.
All my love.