MacLaren on being a saint


SaintRecently, I was coaxed by my daughter into going to a thrift store for a “half off” sale. I did it to spend time with her, not thinking that I would find anything that would interest me. It turns out that they had a large book section with many books worth adding to my library, some of which I purchased.

Among the books I purchased was a partial set of Alexander MacLaren’s Expositions of Holy Scripture at the half off price of $1.50 per volume. This morning I started reading the volume on Ephesians and thought this paragraph worth sharing:

“[I]n God’s church there is no aristocracy of sanctity, nor does the name of saint belong only to those who live high above the ordinary tumults of life and the secularities of daily duty. You may be as true a saint in a factory – ay! and far truer one – than in a hermitage. You do not need to cultivate a mediaeval . . . type of ascetic piety in order to be called saints. You do not need to be amongst the select few to whom it is given here upon earth, but not given without their own effort, to rise to the highest summits of holy conformity with the divine will. But down amongst all the troubles and difficulties and engrossing occupations of our secular work, you may be living saintly lives; for the one condition of being holy is that we should know whose we are and whom we serve, and we can carry the consciousness of belonging to Him into every corner of the poorest, most crowded and most distracted life, recognising His presence and seeking to do His will. The saint is the man who says, ‘O Lord, truly I am Thy servant: Thou hast loosed my bonds.’ Because He has loosed my bonds, the bonds that held me to my sins, He has therein fastened me with far more stringent bonds of love to the sweet and free service of His redeeming love. All His children are His saints.”

I like the line “we should know whose we are and whom we serve” which I have highlighted in bold in the quoted paragraph above.

Lately, I have been increasingly aware of the disconnect between my intellectual knowledge and my emotional responses. Or, to put it another way, there is a separation between my head and my heart.

I have a suspicion that a greater awareness of whose I am and whom I serve will go a long way toward bridging that gap.