Acts 26:17-18 – I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. (NIV)
Today is All Saints' Day on the Christian calendar. Many Protestants don't celebrate it, but Roman Catholics are required to go to mass today, for this is what's called a "Feast of Obligation", and for them, it is one of the holiest days in the year. There are more than 365 saints in the Roman Catholic Church, so a special day was set aside to commemorate and celebrate all the saints who ever lived on earth. It's a day to give thanks to God for the past witnesses of church leaders and holy people. For Roman Catholics, it is also a day to make special prayers to one's favourite saint from the past, in the hope that he or she will intercede on one's behalf.
The reason many Protestants don't join in celebrating this day is because we don't believe in the veneration of saints. Instead, we believe in the sanctifying (making of saints) of the people of God through the conversion of our souls and the forgiveness of our sins. That's the process that the apostle Paul is expressing in today's Scripture verses. He's talking about the saintliness of ordinary people through the extraordinary holiness of Jesus Christ.
Therefore, a right observation of All Saints Day should lead Christians to remember the people who have made a positive impact in our lives with regard to the faith that we carry in our hearts and minds. We should give thanks for the Sunday School teachers and pulpit preachers who have helped us to become Christians. We should honour those who work hard for our local congregations in our ministry and mission programs. We should remember those who work in other lands bringing the gospel to millions of people throughout the earth. And we should also remember our own service to the Lord in our congregations and communities.
So let this day be sanctified in all of our hearts. Let it be an occasion to be grateful for the saints in each of our lives who bring us closer to the Lord. Let us also look for positive opportunities to be Christ's sanctified servants to all whom we meet and encounter today.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for this special day and for all the saints who are working for Your kingdom here on earth. Thank You for their focus and faith, their devotion and dedication, their example and encouragement. Bless and sanctify all of us, so that we may faithfully and effectively carry on Your ministry and mission to our community and world. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.