30th October 2016

Halloween! A time for pumpkins and parties and peculiar goings on?
Well… not really… a ‘hallow’ is an historical word for a ‘saint’ – a term used for a person who is recognized as having an exceptional degree of holiness or likeness to God.
The Roman Catholic church designated certain exceptional Christians as saints and declared a special ‘red letter day’… a ‘Holy Day’ - ‘All Hallows Eve’ - a day to remember the holiest, wisest and most extraordinary of deceased people whose lives had demonstrated purity and sanctity.
But wherever it’s used in the New Testament, the word ‘saint’ (used in the New Revised Standard Version – a pretty accurate translation of the Bible) does not describe the deceased who had been recognized as especially holy, or worthy of emulating, it described living Christians… people who were faithful, and had dedicated themselves to God. Whole groups of people who were righteous in God's sight were called ‘saints’.
Paul wrote to the ‘saints’… the church in Corinth, Ephesus, Rome, Philippi, Colossae, Thessalonica……
Paul doesn’t call followers of Christ ‘Christian’s… he calls them ‘saints’… people who are ‘sanctified’… set apart for God… holy ones.
And for you… all you ‘saints’ in Dewsbury, Heckmondwike, Gomersal, Norristhorpe, Ravensthorpe and Hopton… the word retains its original Christian meaning, as any believer who is "in Christ" and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or on earth…
‘Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Corinthians 1: 3) You are ‘saints’, God’s ‘Faith Makers’ today, just as those who have gone before us were ‘Faith Makers’ for us.
So, let God be seen by the lives of love we live, that we really are God’s children… saints coming to maturity… day by day.

Revd, Janine Atkinson

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