Heroes and Saints (or You’re imperfect, I’m imperfect and that’s okay)

A very late post…

Our pastor redefined the concept of ‘Saints’ to our congregation this past Sunday. Itwas indeed Halloween also called Hallows’ Eve, the day before All Saints Day. Yousee in the Christian (and even secular) world, Saints referred to those who have liveda blameless, pure life. Look up Canonization and the Catholic Church. Saints are only referred to, to show how much one does not live up to them. Like, “hey, I’m no Mother Theresa”. They are examples that we can’t quite live up to.

Dictionary.com defines a saint as someone of ‘exceptional holiness’. The pastorredefines it as a person set apart for a holy purpose. In pointing out the fact that theword is never used as a singular in the Bible and that all Christians are set aside fora holy purpose, he showed that we are all Saints. Set apart for a Holy Purpose. Ouractions are to reflect certain characters about God. And just as you can’t be a Christian by yourself (in isolation), Saints are always referred to as a plural.

So, there it was. The realization that Saints are not perfect people. That the good theydo, we do, is not for praise to be heaped upon ourselves. It’s to make people look upward, as a mirror reflects. So, about the unperfect parts? That’s the human, un-perfect parts. So, I will no longer be shocked by any “shocking truths that E encounters about anyone else”, because, well…we’re all human.
Inside the bulletins were printed short biographies of modern day heroes. It was quite a lengthy list with people I knew about like Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks and Cesar Estrada Chavez and people I didn’t know much about like Todd Beamer, Humberto Noble Alexander and Millard Fuller. None of them lived perfect lives, but at specific moments,they lived out the purposes they were set apart for.

So, on Halloween, in church, we stood up, honoring and thanked God for the lives of these unperfect people set apart for perfect purposes.In the same way Saints is redefined, I’m prompted to take a second look at theterm “heroes”. We all have our heroes. In American schools, students are asked to write about their heroes. Dictionary.com describes a hero as someone having qualities thatdeem him or her a ‘model ideal’ by others.

In the same way as “Saints”, heroes are elevated to a status that the rest of us can’t reach. It’s true that in most cases, they’re called heroes for having done something outof the ordinary in an admirable manner. But, what if what we see causes us to look up? What if we see their feats as a glimpse of how powerful or compassionate God
is? Maybe, we’d put them at a level that would keep from believing that they can do nowrong. Maybe, when E runs that “Shocking truths about…(name your hero here)”, we wouldn’t be devastated and ask who our children would now look up to. Their downfalls would simply be the results of them being human.

Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love talks about a similar thing in her TED talk. Check it out.

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