St. Patrick is gaining a lot of attention this week. March 17 is designated as "St. Patrick's Day", which interestingly, commemorates not the date of his birth, but rather his death. I'm not so sure how Patrick would feel about the excesses of some of the celebrations over this past weekend!
In many Christian traditions a "saint" is someone who has lived a life "worthy of emulation." In other words, someone who has a set an example worth following. Patrick seemed to have set such an example for the faithful of Ireland through his commitment to evangelism and service- growing out of his calling through a vision to "come and walk among us."
"Sainthood" may seem a a bit foreign for those of us anchored in a more protestant/free-church/baptist tradition. This understanding is that all believers are saints, "holy ones." We may be more comfortable calling one another "brother" and "sister" but the Bible calls us "saints" (i.e. Romans 8:27,Ephesians 6:8, and Revelation 19:8).
Its is a good thing to acknowledge and celebrate the lives of those who help us see more clearly what it means to follow Jesus- even as they "walk among us." So this week I am celebrating the lives of some saints... a grandparent, a Sunday School teacher, some youth group leaders, and a college professor... and asking God to help me live into the examples they provided.