The church remembers the lives of the saints to inspire the generations who follow. In the Episcopal tradition, a collection of exemplary and faithful biographies are compiled in “Holy Women, Holy Men.” The book is filled with persons who were instrumental in expanding education to the masses, opportunities and resources to the disadvantaged, contributions to the arts and sciences, and tireless devotion on behalf of marginalized people groups over the past three centuries as well as lives remembered from the ancient church. As I read the short biographies I am impressed with the difference one life can make in the world, and the tremendous sacrifice and devotion of which persons are capable.

A life is a powerful force of nature. With our thoughts we create or destroy. With our words we bless or curse. With our bodies we work or indulge. With our souls we imagine or deny. The lives of the saints who have walked before us tell us that we can turn a culture from bigotry to mutual respect. We can be peacemakers in violent times. We can raise the consciousness of the dignity of all life when exploitation and abuse threaten humanity at every turn. We can give our lives to being instruments of change and beauty because we believe at the center of all life lies the power to live and to love and to forgive and to heal. It is the saints of the world who break through the surface of life’s landscapes and headlines to find the power to be the divine force inherent in all creation. May the lives lived before us continue to inspire us to fully live and work and breathe and love in our own day.