Many churches are named after a saint, eg St Thomas or St James, and some churches celebrate their ‘patronal festival’ on, or near, the relevant feast day of their saint. St Thomas Day is on the 3rd of July, and St James Day is on the 25th of July – it’s a double party month for Osbaldwick and Murton!
St Thomas and St James were among the first followers of Jesus, the twelve disciples. Jesus nicknamed James and his brother ‘the sons of thunder’, which tells us something about their flawed characters. St Thomas became known in the tradition as ‘doubting Thomas’ – not a compliment. Perhaps the saints were people like you and me!
Indeed, the saints were no superhumans. They made mistakes. James and his brother John in-voked the anger of the other disciples when they – quite sneakily – tried to secure ‘special places of honour’ in the kingdom of God. And Thomas was the first to leave the group after Jesus died – he was sure they were deluded when they told him Jesus was alive.
Yes, the saints were normal people, like you and me. But with God’s help they learned to live in the footsteps of Jesus. This made them better humans. Inspirational. The stories of their lives survive the ages.
St James didn’t live a very long life. He was the first of the apostles to die a martyr’s death when he was beheaded by king Herod Agrippa in 44AD. St Thomas lived longer, and travelled much further, all the way to India, where he was martyred in 72AD.
Two ordinary yet extraordinary people who lived a long time ago. What about today: Who are the saints in your life? And do you think you will be remembered as one?
Love and prayers