In the Wake of All Saints Day: Whom Do You Nominate?

Who has been saintly in your life? Who has been an example of holiness, of goodness, of devotion, of serious purpose, of pure and loving speech, of generous action?

I’d like to welcome you to comment below with a brief testimonial to someone who has been saintly in your experience–whether over a long period of time or in a moment of shining service.

And remember, the story or its subject doesn’t have to be heroic. It simply has to celebrate the presence of Christ in someone on some occasion. The Bible exhorts us to follow good examples, and I fear in our age of criticism, cynicism, and cool that we don’t have enough. Let’s get some more on the table, shall we?

0 Responses to “In the Wake of All Saints Day: Whom Do You Nominate?”

  1. Eric

    I remember Peter.

    He was a gentle and gifted music teacher at a large and challenging Catholic High School in a rough part of a Northern English city. I was an ill informed, loud mouthed Protestant teacher of physics and a ‘Pastoral’ Head of Year.

    After teaching there for eight years, and on more than one occasion arrogantly call into question all that Peter held dear, I was called to Ordination in the Anglican Church – clearly not because of any Saintliness on my part πŸ™‚

    Peter said he wanted to do something for me. He had very graciously come along to my weekly assemblies and we’d played guitar together – he knew that my guitar, being as thrashed as my theology, was on it’s last legs.

    He took me to a shop in town that sold guitars and told me to take my pick (no pun intended). We played one after the other after the other to find ‘the right sound’ – in the end we found one dusty and neglected. It was perfect for me πŸ™‚ It was also one of the most expensive. I said I couldn’t take it, but he insisted

    He said ‘May God bless your ministry’ – He was and is a Saint

  2. Mike in Pennsylvania

    Uncle Al is a dear friend of my wife’s family, and now ours, for as long as she can remember. With his wife Sandy he raised twelve children on a house painter’s salary. In his mid thirties he became a Christian and dropped his habit of a fifth of whiskey a day.

    Soon after his conversion he was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. Now, nearly eight years old, his hands are as gnarled as oak branches, but the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen is his hands raised as high as he can in worship.

    Uncle Al’s theology would be labeled as fundamentalist, but he’s not the fighting kind. His heart and demeanor are charitable and gracious. For example, sometime in the 1970’s, after finding out that two college guys were without a home he was adamant that no brother of his would go homeless. The two arrived at his home in full hippie regalia with hair down to their backsides. After he welcomed them, he immediately (secretly) threw out his unopened box full of Oliver B. Green tracts against long haired men.

    People know that when Uncle Al asks how are you doing he means it sincerely. He’s started numerous heartfelt conversations with waiters, telemarketers, and cashiers that eventually led to deep conversations at his home.

    On the occasions that he’s prayed for me I’ve felt that Jacob himself was giving his blessing.

    For the many you’ve blessed, thank you, Saint Uncle Al.

  3. Steve

    Ten years ago I had a dramatic Road-to-Damascus type conversion. Al, the pastor of the church I had visited that day, took me under his wing and helped me take my first steps into the Faith. He baptized me and kept in touch when I moved to another part of the country.

    A couple years later, when I felt the call to ministry, he encouraged me to move back home to Winnipeg so I could attend seminary in Manitoba. I was considering Regent College in Vancouver (!) but he said that back home the church that had birthed me could nurture and support me during seminary. I took his advice and am thankful. As I was learning, he mentored me and shared his pulpit with me. He gave enough rope to hang myself with but thanks to his guidance I never did. He saw to it that the church paid a good portion of my tuition. I have since learned that that is rare.

    When my time in training was ending he made room for me to pastor alongside him; the plan being to eventually take his place. We are still working together and I am still blessed by his mentorship. Being so supported in the tough path into ministry is not something that is common, I have learned. I hope to follow Al’s example and raise up young men after me.

    I’ll forever be thankful for his guidance and generosity to me. He has been a real instrument of God.

    Oh, and in my third year of seminary, he became my father-in-law to boot! That was not part of the plan but he was gracious there too.

  4. matichuk

    One of the saints I have been privileged to know was a woman named Margaret. When I knew her, she was already old. Polio in her youth meant that she spent her life crippled, confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others to help care for her basic needs. She also dealt with chronic pain. From what she would share about her life, I knew it had been a hard road for her. This was a woman acquainted with physical and emotional suffering. And yet…

    She, more than anyone modeled for me faithfulness to Christ. When others at church would complain and lose heart with little provocation, Margret came to church weekly with stories of God’s provision and care for her. She wasn’t a Pollyanna about the difficulties she faced. Her life was hard, but she demonstrated faith in a God greater than her circumstance. Margaret in her wheelchair is my picture of what it means to trust Jesus with my life.

    Margaret also showed me what it meant to be a witness. She was full of joy and that bubbled over as she shared the gospel, frequently with those in her life. This wasn’t pushy evangelism mind you. Most people were as enamored and overawed by her attitude and simple trust as I was. She simply shared with others, what was most important to her because she couldn’t contain it, and with urgency, she wanted others to hear the good news.

    Both her witness and her faith were fed by a constant prayer life. She demonstrated to me what it meant to pray without ceasing.

    I haven’t seen or spoke to Margaret in about 15 years and am not sure she is still alive. But her life helped shape some of my ideas of what it means to walk with God and to grow into a mature faith.

  5. Lam Tang

    Darrell Johnson. Best boss ever.
    Initially, there wasn’t so much one story as much as “when is he ever NOT ” an example of holiness, of goodness, of devotion, of serious purpose, of pure and loving speech, of generous action”? There’s some Jesus in everything he does, with everyone he meets. And Dr. Stackhouse, I’m sure you can attest to this way more than I could.

    If there’s one story that encapsulates the spirit of the day (which has passed now, hasn’t it?…) for me, it’s this.

    When I was working for Darrell as Communications guy for First Baptist Church Vancouver, I booked an ad. Because I was working very last minute, as I often do, I didn’t get it in front of him with enough time to consider all the ramifications of it. The following Sunday, a congregant tore a strip into him for the ad, among a host of other things.

    What touched my heart in that situation was that, as much as Darrell had every right to have me shoulder the blame quite squarely, he owned the mistake-y aspects of the ad a lot. Hard to describe here, I just felt like he had my back, way beyond the call of duty.

    Oh, that and his two mind-blowing sermons his first two Labour Days as Sr. Minister, 2009 & 2010. I’m glad to have had time working in his church office. First Baptist is so blessed to have him serve there.

  6. J. Barrett Lee

    I’m a month late on this one, but I recommend his grace, St. Bruce Hindmarsh because he once gave me a lift to campus while I was waiting for a bus.
    Not exactly hagiography, but it was a solid favor to me on a cold and rainy day. It’s little things that count…


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