Monday, September 13, 2010

Walking in the Footsteps of the Saints

Did they tell you stories 
'bout the saints of old? 
Stories about their faith? 
They say stories like that make a boy grow bold 
Stories like that make a man walk straight

(Rich Mullins - Boy like Me, Man Like You)

Having recently been wandering around in some great churches in England, I have been thinking about the saints of old and the crypts that many of those churches have.  The beautiful thing of wandering around crypts is that you are walking around on graves of those who went before ... those who have passed on.  They are part of the foundations and the path upon which you walk ... Stop, pause for a moment and think on that.  The saints of old ... stories about their faith ... Stop, and think and be encouraged.  

Hebrews 12
 1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The Message puts it beautifully ...
1-3Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. 

Be encouraged that although you stumble and fall ... you have a great cloud of witnesses cheering you on ... cheering for you to run your race and to finish strong ... walking in the crypts and seeing the graves in the churches reminded me of the saints who have gone before.  Much of what we have is because of the legacy they laid down.  Those who have gone before us are not just the saints of old ... think of the legacies of faith in the people God brought into your life.  Friends ... family ... those who have been running their race and running it strong ... be encouraged by their walks.  You will find that they have the same thing in common as the great cloud of witnesses ... you will find it in Hebrews 12 vs 2 ... Let us fix our eyes on Jesus ...

Another beautiful thing about the old cathedrals is the architecture is designed to lift the eyes ... 

The Psalmist had a bit to say about that in the opening of Psalm 121 when he said, "I will lift my eyes to the hills - where does my help come from?".  The point is not the hills ... the point is "I will LIFT MY EYES ..."  or as Hebrews clearly lays out for us ... fix our eyes on Jesus.

Dwell on the rest of that Psalm (a Psalm of ascents) for a moment ...

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.

 1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—

 where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD, 

 the Maker of heaven and earth.

 3 He will not let your foot slip— 

 he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel 

       will neither slumber nor sleep.

 5 The LORD watches over you— 

 the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

 6 the sun will not harm you by day, 

    nor the moon by night.

 7 The LORD will keep you from all harm— 

       he will watch over your life;
 8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going 

       both now and forevermore.

We all stumble and fall and get muddy ... but when you do ... know two things from the cathedrals ... you have those who went before you ... also people who got muddy ... who fell ... who failed ... but pick yourself up!  Lift your eyes ... take courage from the journeys of those who have gone before ... and finish strong.

1 comment:

Joy & said...

Thank you for that, Sarah. (JOY)