November 16, 2023

Nov 15, 2023

Image: Laura Sunderland

Everyday Saints

It’s “saints” season, and one of the hymns I’ve always liked, even though it’s a bit sing-song and trite is “I sing a song of the saints of God” (Episcopal hymnal #193). Maybe you know it– my favorite part is the last verse, which starts like this:

They lived not only in ages past;
there are hundreds of thousands still;
the world is bright with the joyous saints
who love to do Jesus’ will.

It gives me hope to think about the thousands of positive forces in the world, helping us when we need it most.

Saints really are everywhere, if you look for them. For the past two weeks I have been extremely busy and stressed as I organized the visit of twenty students and their teachers as part of our exchange with a school in Germany. It has been wonderful, but my mental tank was getting depleted. And in stepped the saints (or angels, as I like to think of them):

Angel #1: Grecia. The two teachers were staying with me and while I had some lovely evening meals prepared, I was daunted by figuring out what to pack for their lunches as I usually eat frozen dinners or leftovers. Enter my colleague Grecia, who offered to bring lunches for them and even invited them over to experience trick or treating with her family, giving me an evening off.

Angel #2: Rebecca. After church last Sunday, I bit into one of Betsy’s lovely chocolate chip cookies and a crown fell off one of my teeth. The best dentist appointment I could get was an hour before the farewell potluck. I messaged the parents and lovely Rebecca took over, picking up tablecloths, making 12 gorgeous flower centerpieces, and setting up all the tables for a great send-off.

Angel #3: Laura. While chaperoning a school dance last week, I lamented to an art teacher colleague that I still hadn’t made Max an appointment for his senior pictures. It just didn’t seem that important, since I have taken lots of great photos of the kids and professional photos can be quite expensive. This week she messaged me and offered to come by Friday and take photos of Max (and Chewie!). I was still feeling worn out since the Germans had only left that morning, but it turned out to be the perfect blessing to walk in the woods behind our house and see my far-too-grown-up son smiling in the fall sun.

As we remember the tragedies in Lewiston, Israel, Gaza, Ukraine and other places, it always helps to look for the saints at work. There’s a lot of darkness in the world, but there’s a lot of light, too.

That hymn ends “For the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one, too.” I’ve had a lot of thanks for the hard work I put in to help our exchange be successful, but I couldn’t have done it without the blessings of these saints. May we all appreciate the saints in our lives and look for opportunities to be saints to others.



Melanie Kyer