Pope Francis has been busy beatifying and canonizing former popes lately. One might ask, how long does it take to canonize a saint? In the Roman Catholic Church, that process can take a long time, a hundred years or more. But in San Francisco, we know it only takes 21 innings. Just in time for All Saints' Day, the city named for Saint Francis came out on Friday to cheer their new saint: Saint Madison, to be joined by Saint Hunter, Saint Pablo, Saint Buster… This all makes perfect sense to Catholics, who have long been in the saint-making business, but Protestants are a little behind the curve ball on this one. A lot of us don't even know what a saint is. And it's all too easy to get distracted by what a saint isn't.
So before we think about what worship could be or should be for us or for anyone else, we'd better think about what worship could be and should be for God. Every preacher, singer, instrument player, or scripture reader has to keep this crucial fact in mind: when we worship, you folks in the pews are the ones who are worshiping, not just those of us who stand on the stage. You are not our audience; God is your audience.
John says that in the new earth, God will make a home and dwell with us. In fact, the Greek says that God will pitch a tent with us. So here we are in the old earth. It's as if we were living in the Jungle, right along the creek. It's raining hard, the camp is flooding, the police are coming, but will God get there first and set up a big tent to keep us all together, safe, warm and dry. Not a one will be lost, because what God made, God will save. God doesn't lose things as we do. And so we will end up right where we began. Our ending is our beginning, and it's all in God.