‘So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.’ Ephesians 2:19-20 (NRSV)
It’s such a shame that Halloween gets all the publicity. All Saints Day has become an afterthought and is scarcely mentioned, even in some churches. What a pity. In a dark world, what better to celebrate than people who have done amazing things in God’s name? (Or perhaps it would be more accurate to call them people through whom God has done amazing things. But anyway.)
There are a lot of saints who tend to be overlooked, even by Christians. They have some memorable stories attached to them, too. One of these overlooked saints is Saint Wilgefortis, a Portuguese noblewoman whose father promised her in marriage to a non-believing king. Horrified by this idea, Wilgefortis prayed that God would make her repulsive to her prospective husband. In answer to her prayers, she sprouted an impressive beard and the wedding was duly called off.
Then there’s Saint Boniface, who was enraged by pagans worshipping a supposed sacred oak, chopped the tree down – helped by a powerful wind apparently sent from heaven – and used the wood to build a church. The people were so impressed that they all converted to Christianity.
And let’s not forget Saint Christina the Astonishing, who died of a massive seizure but came back to life during her funeral. She immediately levitated up to the rafters of the church (explaining that she could not stand the smell of sin coming from the congregation) and recounted her journey through heaven, hell and purgatory.
But of course, a ‘saint’ is not just someone with an impressive story (or a far-fetched one). As Paul points out, we are all saints because we are all ‘members of the household of God’. With that in mind, we want to celebrate a few people who fit into both categories: humble, down-to-earth people who are assuredly members of the household of God but are also doing remarkable things in the name of Jesus. I of course mean BCT’s project partners. There’s Odeth, Emma and the team from APRECOM in Rwanda, who do extraordinary work in supporting and advising children and young people living with disability or affected by HIV. It’s no exaggeration to say that God is changing lives through them.
There’s Jean-Paul and Edwige from LVLE in Goma, DR Congo. In a city affected by multiple forms of deprivation and widespread child abuse, LVLE is a beacon of hope. The team faithfully advise, support and help children living on the streets or accused of witchcraft, and help churches to become places where children can thrive.
And Joyce and Henry from Wukwashi in Zambia have seemingly limitless energy and expertise in meeting the needs of disabled children and advocating for their rights. The team give of themselves constantly, so that children can access the support they need. Joyce, Henry and their colleagues are truly heroes of the faith.
We praise God for all these ordinary but wonderful people. We praise God for you too. Your support, encouragement and prayers for BCT matter so much to us and, by extension, to some of the world’s most marginalised children. What you do is hugely significant, whether you can see that or not. You are a member of the household of God. You belong. You have a role. We pray that, as we celebrate All Saints’ Day, God will remind you that you are just as much a saint as Christina the Astonishing.
(Image credit: Dominique Devroye on pixabay.com)