Message from Our Pastor
As much as I agree with these words, I also believe the angels, and the Holy Spirit, are right here beside us, helping us along the way. In fact, we can only do God’s work with our hands because the Holy Spirit began working within us some time ago. For some of us, it’s longer ago than for others. Paul refers to this work in his letter to the Ephesians, when he reminds them they were marked with the seal of the promised Holy Spirit, when they heard the gospel and believed. We are still marked with that seal today. It is made at our baptism. Having been baptized in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, as Jesus commands in the Gospel of Matthew, you are thereby united with Jesus in his death and resurrection. The pastor says, “You, my child, are marked and sealed with the cross of Christ, forever. ” Forever. That’s a long time. But, every forever has a beginning. It’s the Holy Spirit’s seal of the cross on our foreheads, which seals our fate as children of God, and marks the beginning of our journey as saints. Did you know you are a saint? Do you ever think of yourself as being a saint? No? Is it because you don’t consider yourself to be good enough to be a saint, or because you don’t want to have to be that good, to qualify as a saint? But sainthood isn’t about being good. There is no “saint-o-meter” you stand on, with the lights flashing up and down, then finally settling somewhere on a scale to determine if you are good enough to be a saint. Like I said, you already are a saint. You have been ever since your baptism. So, what exactly, is the job description of a saint? Earlier this week, it was my turn to prepare the pericope study for this Sunday’s texts. I read through a lot of material. After 22 years of reading commentaries, a lot of it was familiar, but I stumbled upon a pastor’s sermon that attempted to describe the role of a saint in a way I’d never heard before. I found it to be quite unique. You understand the idea of faith being a journey, right? I’ve already identified our faith journey, our journey as saints, as beginning at our baptism. As we journey forth from our baptism, we grow in faith as we learn about God. And, we learn about God through the stories of the Bible, right? The Bible is a window, through which we see the Kingdom of God unfold, and discover God’s amazing love and grace that’s ours through Jesus. Church is a place, a window through which we learn about God. Can you think of other windows? Are you with me so far? But, what happens to windows over time? They get dirty. They get covered, inside and out, with dust and smudges and cobwebs and bird poop and soot and insects and pollen and grass clipping! You name it! After a while, it’s hard to see through a dirty window. Or, if you can see through it, what you see is distorted and fuzzy. Maybe what you see isn’t really what you think it is at all. But, you don’t know that, because the window is too dirty. Then some kind person steps into your life and wipes a clean circle on your window. Another wise person wipes another circle. Then, someone else gives you tools and teaches you how to clean the windows yourself. Maybe you’ve experienced a whole gang of people coming together to have a window cleaning party. These people, these individuals, the cleaning party, they are the saints. They help us to see and to know God more clearly, the window washers in our lives. Of course, sometimes we can’t see because WE have pulled the blinds, or closed the shutters. Saints also know how to open the shutters and draw up the blinds. Those who do whatever is needed to let the sun (Son) shine in, these are the saints in our lives. Taking the time, making the time, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, to let the Son shine in on someone’s life. This is the job description for saints. The next obvious question is what does it mean to clean a window or put up a blind or open a curtain and let the Son shine in? What does it mean to help another see God more clearly? Think about the saints in your life. Who taught you most about God’s love for you? Even more, who showed you God’s love? In the fear of uncertainty, in the darkness of doubt, in the dirtiness of confusion, who helped you find your way? Whose flame flickered through the grime? Who took the time to wash away the dust of past hurt, to remove the cobwebs of self-doubt, to polish the glass so you could see reflected in it the real you God created? Who taught you how to read the Bible, or pray, or brought you to worship, where you learned to wipe clean your own windows?God’s window washers. These are the saints we celebrate today. God’s window washers. This is what we are called to be, saints who do what we can, who are called to do whatever it takes to make clear God’s love to others. That includes our enemies, those who hate us, those who curse us, and those who mistreat and take advantage of us. God’s window washers, this is who we are called to be, saints with the courage to wash the windows of the rich, the gluttons, the satisfied, the arrogant, that they may see their brothers and sisters through the clear lens of God’s eyes.God’s window washers. This is who we are called to be, saints who freely and gladly clean the windows of the poor, the grieving, the hungry, the homeless, the hated, the bullied, the oppressed, the reviled, the sick, the voiceless, the unemployed, the unbelievers, the addicts, the hopeless, the lonely, the forgotten, the prisoner, the immigrant, the child, the elder, the broken - so that they may see themselves with the clarity of God’s eyes and know his free blessings of love, grace and mercy. God’s window washers. This is who we are called to be, saints. Indeed, this is who we already are. No, the angels are not sent into our world of pain to make of all the world a better place to live. That’s been left to you and me, the window washers, the saints, and all who are set free. Help us, O Lord, we pray, to do your will today. Amen.