Stained Glass and Saints - Musing for 7-12-22
For God is not unjust; he will not overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do. Hebrews 6:10 NRSV
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
One of the many joys of preaching in the LaFayette Presbyterian Church sanctuary is that I have a view of each of the amazing stained-glass windows that line both sides of the historic sanctuary. No matter the year's season, at 11 am unless there is a rainstorm outside, some of those windows have the sun’s light shining through them. It is a beautiful sight and sometimes sitting there as Jane plays or the choir sings or as I look out among the congregation, I am awed by the sight and also the knowledge of all the saints before us who have worshiped in this place and whose work for the gospel allows us to do what we know to do each week to worship God in that holy place.
Recently, I came across the story of a young child and his father who were on a “bucket list trip” from South Carolina to Europe where they took time to visit numerous historical sites including some of the great cathedrals. As they were touring one of those great sanctuaries, the entire tour group marveled at the enormous and fabulous stained-glass windows. Folks oohed and ahhed at each of them.
The guide pointed out who was depicted in each of the windows. He noted one magnificent window with a collage of saints. He pointed up and gestured towards St. Peter and St. Mark, St. Luke and St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila and St. Paul. As it so happened the sun was coming through the window, casting beautiful colored shadows on the walls and floors.
As they stood there the child looked up at his father and asked, “what is a saint?”
The father had grown up in the Protestant tradition, and while he knew what a saint was, he wasn’t exactly sure how to explain it to an 8-year-old.
Not exactly sure how to respond, he tried to put the boy off by saying well those people up there in the stained-glass window – those are saints.
With wisdom beyond the child’s 8 years, the child said, “Oh saints are folks who let the light shine through them.”
Friends we are all called to be saints as followers of Jesus Christ. We are to let the light of God shine through us so that all might see the wonders of God’s grace and love.
Indeed, we are, as Saint Peter writes, called to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
May we do so in word and deed as we seek justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.
In the name of the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer. Alleluia Amen.