Last Sunday we celebrated (early) the Feast of All Saints, which is actually on Thursday, November 1. At the 8 a.m. service, I mentioned how optimistic it is to celebrate the lives of the saints, a concept that had come from a long conversation I had with some friends about whether we thought the world was going in the right or wrong direction, as a whole.
The core question that arose was whether or not people were innately immoral or not, as a matter of “human nature.” We use that term often in the negative, a sweeping explanation for bad behavior, but that’s actually not what we attest to as Christians.
As Christians, we claim two things. First, that all of creation was made “good,” according to the first chapters of Genesis. While it isn’t a great idea to rely on Genesis for scientific data, it is a very good source for theological information, including that what God makes is pure and whole in nature, including humanity.
Second, we see this proven in Jesus Christ, who we also say was fully human and was without sin. If being human by definition is wrought with evil and malice, then either Jesus wasn’t truly human or we are wrong in our assessment of human nature. My money is on the latter.
All of which brings me around to saints and the world. The lives of the saints exist at the intersection of God’s love and human experience. Saints are people whose existences have been touched by the Holy Spirit to be what they always could have been: just, kind, courageous, and holy.
And in looking at the world today, we must ask ourselves, is God reaching our hearts less or more? Are there fewer saints or more saints out there? Has God given up on us, or has God’s work only just begun?
Our faith and our hope are intimately intertwined, and what we think about God’s continued involvement in the world has much to do with what we hope for in the future.