From the Pulpit: Dean Hollerith on ‘Living Backwards’
Yesterday was All Saints Sunday here at the Cathedral, and Dean Randy Hollerith offered some thoughts about what it means to be a saint.
It’s a tall order, to be sure, but Dean Hollerith said maybe we make it more complicated than it needs to be. Two sections stand out.
He started with a story about a group of 6th graders who were promised free college tuition if they could stick with it until graduation.
“We have a God willing to guarantee our future if we want to accept God’s offer, and baptism, which we celebrate today, is the way the church celebrates the acceptance of God’s free unearned gift of a future. When we mark a child with the waters of baptism, we say yes, we want this promise of a future for our children. We want it for ourselves, and being a saint means allowing the future gift to change the way we lead our present lives.
Look at those students. They had hope so they stayed in school and took pride in their learning. They worked hard because the gift of a college education awaited them the day they graduated. In essence, they lived backwards. The promise of a future made it possible for them to live more fully into the present. In a similar way, you and I as saints are supposed to live backwards as well. We are asked to live in faith, exuding hope and joy right now in our present lives because we know the promise that awaits us. We have nothing to earn, nothing to prove. God has already given us the gift. The investment has already been made. All we are asked to do is to live in the light of this gift.”
And then this:
“Remember on this All Saint Sunday that you don’t have to be anything special to be a saint. You only have to be willing to climb down into life with Jesus where the needs of the world are great and the realities of this ordeal often difficult to understand. Because being a saint is not about holiness. It’s about becoming infused with the life of God and offering that life for others. Being a saint is being a person with a passion to make a difference in a world, in need of love and mercy. Being a saint is being someone who holds as precious that which the world considers worthless or useless.
Being a saint is becoming a person whose purpose is to face in two directions, to face Christ in faith, and to face our neighbor in love.”