I Sing a Song of the Saints of God
I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true.
who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew.
And one was a doctor and one was a queen and one was a shepherdess on the green;
they were all of them saints of God, and I mean, God helping, to be one, too.
They loved their Lord so dear, so dear, and His love made them strong;
and they followed the right for Jesus’ sake the whole of their good lives long.
And one was a soldier and one was a priest and one was slain by a fierce wild beast;
and there’s not any reason, no, not the least, why I shouldn’t be one, too.
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, on the street, in the store,
In church, by the sea, in the house next door;
they are saints of God, whether rich or poor,
and I mean to be one, too.
Lesbia Scott, 1939
In some religious traditions, we don’t often spend a lot of time thinking about saints with a capital S. We may not recognize the saints mentioned in Lesbia Scott’s hymn: St. Luke (the doctor), St. Margaret (the queen), St. Joan (the shepherdess), St. Martin of Tour (the soldier), John Donne (the priest), St. Ignatius of Antioch (an early church bishop who was thrown to the lions in the Roman Coliseum). We do, however, recognize that we are surrounded by saints, those in whom we see the light of Christ shining and through whom He touches a hurting world.
Our children may be aware that Blessed Mother Teresa was a godly, saintly woman who recognized Jesus in the “poorest of the poor” whom she served in Calcutta, but they are also beginning to recognize saints who quietly take food to a neighbor in need, who spend a Saturday building a house for a homeless family, who spend the school holidays on a mission trip to help others. In their own special ways, our children strive to be saints as well, visiting an elderly friend, taking up for a new child at school whose traditions are different, sharing part of their allowances on school supplies for children who have none. They catch a glimpse of God’s light shining in saints around them and earnestly say, “…I mean to be one, too.”
An idea for worship: Teach this song to the children of your congregation, either in child’s choir or in worship. Using simple costumes, allow several children to dress as the saints mentioned in the hymn and introduce them in a teachable moment during the children’s sermon or as part of the children’s choir presentation in the service. Together, wonder what makes these folks different, what sets them apart so that we call them saints. They are God’s shiny people. Sing “This Little Light of Mine” as a benediction for the children’s sermon, and include the grown-up members as well, holding their little lights high.
Hymn Review by Carolyn S. Lewis, CMI Administrator