Devotion: “To All the Saints” March 19, 2013
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Apology of the Augsburg Confession (written by Philip Melanchthon, early reformer, along with Martin Luther) says that we honor the saints for three reasons: First, they are examples of God’s mercy and show how much God wants to save humankind. Second, honoring the saints strengthens our faith. And third, they are examples of faith that encourage us in our own callings. When Paul and his co-worker Timothy wrote to their friends in Philippi, they addressed them as saints, not just a few of them but all of the baptized Christians. This was an indication of their regard for them. They were saints because they were faithful recipients of God’s mercy, their faith strengthened the faith of others, and their faith encouraged others in their callings.
How can the baptized be saints in the world today? How do we encourage one another in our own callings? Paul and Timothy answered these questions in this letter to the Philippians, and I can answer it based on my experience writing these devotional messages over the last four years. I can honestly say I have been writing to the saints. While my messages were meant to be reflective, uplifting, and at times challenging, your responses have given me glimpses of sainthood. You are people who know God’s mercy and grace, and your need for it. When you have shared your faith stories with me you have helped to strengthen my faith. And your notes and messages have given me immense encouragement in my calling as a Christian.
I will soon be redirecting some of my energies in my role at Lord of Life, and I want to thank all of you for your readership and friendship. It has been an honor and a privilege to write to you each week. I will leave you with the rest of this passage (Philippians 1:3-11) as a Benediction:
I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now. I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God’s grace with me… And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight to help you to determine what is best, so that in the day of Christ you may be pure and blameless, having produced the harvest of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ for the glory and praise of God. Amen!
Written by Alice Woodard , Associate in Ministry, Director of Worship
Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 7401 County Road 101, Maple Grove, MN 55311, 763-420-5015, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scripture quotation is from The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © Lord of Life Lutheran Church 2013. All Rights Reserved.