One day when we were attending a birthday party for a friend’s son, a young man approached me and wanted to thank me for being so nice to him. He mentioned how I would always ask how he was doing and how it seemed like I would always go out of my way to check up on him. I was taken aback when he approached me. I remember one lengthy conversation we had about a landscaping business he wanted to start. He was so excited. I remember telling him to start slowly and just by word of mouth it would grow on its own. I knew him from just seeing him at my son’s school when I would fill in as a sub. He had a cleft lip and kids would make fun of him. He defended himself on the playground many times. It was only a couple years after that birthday party I learned he had passed away from health issues that weren’t apparent on the outside. Josh was only 25 when he passed, and I am glad I gave him the attention I did; the attention that meant a lot to him.
Sally Brooke told us about a man she approached who was sitting on a bench. He was alone and she approached him to just say “hello” and to see how his day was going which led into a welcoming conversation. He thanked her as she left for giving him her time. I can almost say for sure, that made his day. It’s these moments that God puts in front of us to shine our light.
As one of Mr. Rogers’ quotes says, and you have probably heard it very recently because of the new film coming out:
“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”
We here at Grace are a special community doing God’s work. Most of the time we don’t see the results of our giving, but we know the relief, the joy, the hope that comes from it. A counselor at Lee High School remarked about the gift cards we give, and the pleasure she gets in seeing the reactions on the students’ faces when she gives them out. We don’t see the joy felt at the Mampong Babies Home in Ghana when they are able to cuddle and care for these precious lives and bring comfort. Not all of us get to see the ongoing results of immigrants that have to go through such a challenging process or the thankfulness of those being escorted with support when they need to check-in with the court system. Not all of us get to see the many kids we sponsor running around and participating in a summer camp at Multicultural Bridge. Not all of us get to engage with those being helped at both the People’s Pantry and the Lee Pantry on a weekly basis. Most of us don’t get the opportunity to be there when the produce is brought in from Gideon’s Garden at a meal site or pantry. Or seeing the youth in the garden getting their hands dirty and loving it. All of us at Grace support and give to these ministries and in our hearts we know what we do here is helping those who need the help and all of us here at Grace make these ministries happen.
What we do see are the results of other ministries offered right at Grace, here in worship and fellowship. God has graced each of us with many gifts and talent. As we are getting ready for worship, the Choir is warming up while the Altar is being prepared. The Greeters are setting up the Welcome Table. The Lectors and Intercessors are reviewing lessons and prayers. The Coffee Hour is being set up as the flowers are being placed up front. As we are being Ushered to the table for Communion, Healing Prayers are being offered in the back. And then we have the ministries offered during other times, the Third Sunday Suppers, the Wisdom Group, Finance Committee, Vestry, Tuesday’s Child, Books and Bread, Worship Committee. This happens because of the talents and gifts given to us by God.
I love doing God’s work. Years ago, when teaching Sunday School and doing the Youth Group, my motto was “We Are His Hands”. I am pleased to serve God through Grace Church. I love that we all are giving people and who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? I feel guilty that all can’t share in this, so Grace Church, SHINE YOUR LIGHT!