by Pattie Ames, Christian Formation Missioner, Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia
One of my favorite hymns is “I Sing a Song of the Saints of God.” I sang it almost every day in chapel at the Episcopal Day School I attended. Our rector talked a lot about saints and shared their stories. He also reminded us of the last verse of the hymn which tell us that you can meet saints anywhere. I have met a lot of saints in my day, both in and out of the church. To me, they are saints because they live the way of love, love God, and love others.
Edwin is one of my saints and friends. Edwin is a homeless man with whom I talked almost every day in Washington, DC as I walked to work. He never asked me for money. He only wanted to talk and liked to talk about God. He knew I worked for the church, and so we had discussions about how to love our neighbors and why some people walk right by their neighbors on the street and don’t say a word to them and avert their eyes. Edwin said, “I still love them because that’s what God wants.” He said he was a child of God, just with no home, kind of like Jesus. He added he was okay because he loved God and loved everyone. On one of my last days in DC, before moving to Roanoke, Edwin asked if he could pray for me. I was moved to tears and we prayed for each other.
Saint Edwin taught me how we treat each other really matters. He showed me how to live the way of love. He taught me that saints are in our midst, if we pay attention.
“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.
You can meet them in school, or in lanes or at sea, in church or in trains or in shops or at tea. For the saints of God are just folk like me, and I mean to be one too.”
Pattie Ames serves as a diocesan resource for local ministry efforts in parishes with a primary focus on children's formation and ministry. She assists with college and young adult ministries, and she also works to connect youth and adults to diocesan youth ministry efforts.