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Saints and Salvation – A Reflection

April 24, 2020
One of our neighbors in our Condo complex ❤️❤️

I have spent a lot of today reading Superabundantly Alive: Thomas Merton’s Dance with the Sacred Feminine. Merton’s words and thoughts have taken me back to my seminary days (1983-1986) when Liberation Theology and Feminist Theology were shaking the world of seminary students like me. I was challenged to the core of my own beliefs. One of my professors at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities in St Paul, Minnesota taught a class which was called “Constructive Theology” or as we referred to it, “Destructive Theology.” The course broke down the theologies we brought with us to seminary and began rebuilding our theologies from the foundation.

Following graduation and three years in the two yoked-parishes I served in West Central Minnesota, I entered the US Air Force. To be honest, the military is one of the most male-oriented institutions in the US. Yet in the midst of it, I found opportunities to see and to support the sacred feminine as I supported women who were being “raped” by the very system they had sworn to serve.

As I reflect upon those years, I see how my own theology of liberation and social justice was influenced. My sisters showed me how to be Christ to others in the midst of oppression and misogyny.

Now we are living in unusual times thanks to COVID-19, hatred, fear mongering, and the state of division in our country. The misogynistic and fear-mongering state of so much of this country worries me (to say the least!). I think back at this time to the ideals of my call to ministry. I also think of so many people who seek to serve God along with us. Are they saints in the traditional sense? Not really. However, what is a saint? It a saint a pious, faultless, pure individual? I don’t believe that is the definition of a saint. Aren’t the saints who have been called to make a difference you and me? St Francis of Assisi never saw himself as a saint. He saw him as a simple fool trying to follow Christ. Isn’t that who we are dear reader? I know that describes me to a T!

Thomas Merton had something to say about “sainthood” and the life of a believer. I believe we can learn a lot from his contemplation and vision. He is almost Reformed in his understanding. In our tradition, all of us are Saints… called by God and commissioned to serve all of God’s children.

For me to be a saint means to be myself. Therefore, the problem of sanctity and salvation is in fact the problem of finding out who I am and of discovering my true self…Trees and animals have no problem. — New Seeds of Contemplation (p. 31)

May we seek to be such saints doing the will of God. What is that will? To Do Justice… To Love Kindness/Mercy… To Walk Humbly With God… to Love God and to Love EVERY neighbor. That is our calling… that is our charge. We can do no less as we seek to serve God.

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