Wanted: Saint

Sunday, November 2, 2014
Matthew 5:1-12

One saint.  To start immediately.  Tasks vary.

The candidate need not be formally recognized by any church.

However, the candidate to be ‘saint’ must show at least some of the following qualities

Be poor in spirit.  
        That is, not full of themselves, not overconfident.

In mourning     Those who know grief have a better chance of knowing God.  Because they realize they themselves are not invincible.   And in grief, so many learn to turn to God for strength, hope, and comfort.

Be Meek    Puffed-up people are full of it.  Whatever “it” is - that does not matter.  And have no room for God.  Or for others.  Those are not the ones that we can use in the work of the saints.

Be hungry and thirsty - that everything be right, be good
        That is an important trait in this world now.  Trying to make things good, trying to make things right.  At home.  In community.  In the church.  In the world.

Be merciful    We need merciful people - people who show mercy in their actions, by their generous actions toward those that could be easily crushed.
        We need merciful people - people who will hold back the word of judgement that could so easily be uttered against someone else, a word that can shatter a fragile ego, a word that can break the reed that Isaiah spoke of....   

Pure in heart    The troop of saints need to be augmented with people who are not deceitful.  Who are not doing things in hiding.  Who seek to act morally and ethically.

Peacemakers    This is much in need today.  People who will build peace.  At home.  In community.  In church congregations.  In the world.  This characteristic is more important today than ever.

Those are persecuted because they do good things
        These are strong people.  It is not hard to do good stuff when the people around are doing good stuff.  Maybe it is easy to do good stuff when we’re at church.  But these are the people who do good things when everyone is going to look at them weird.  Or speak against them.  Or do worse to them.

Those who are hated because they follow Jesus
        These, too, are strong people.  Meek, maybe.  But very strong.  Who do not worry if people think that they are foolish or lost or whatever.  Who will even tolerate people hating them because of their faith.  Does not mean that they try to stuff their faith down other people’s throats - that would not be meek - but that they are confident in having their own faith as their guiding compass.

Now, be sure - we are not expecting anyone to be 100% in any of these qualities.  Such would be too much to ask of the saints of this earth.

But if we can gather some people together who show some sign of these qualities....  Then we can begin the work of being the body of Christ, the community of the crucified one.

For, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Lutheran pastor, theologian and anti-Nazi dissident, wrote:
“Having reached the end of the Beatitudes, we naturally ask if there is any place on this earth for the community which they describe. Clearly, there is one place, and only one, and that is where the Poorest, Meekest, and most sorely Tried of all men is to be found — on the cross at Golgotha. The community which is the subject of the Beatitudes is the community of the crucified.  With Him it has lost all, and with him it has found all.”

So....  We’re not going to be fully qualified.  Ever.

And the people we have lived with and loved, whose lives have intersected ours and loved us:
None of them was fully qualified.

Now - that’s okay, because of God’s grace.

None ever fully qualified - with one exception:
Only one.  Only one - Jesus, meekness and mercy crucified.

But we remember those who strived to live life well.
We remember those who touched our lives.

And we seek strength and wisdom to live life well ourselves.
For we are all called to be saints.