Glimpses of God's grace as experienced through the eyes of a pilgrim pastor.
Saturday, September 14, 2013
God's Work. Our Hands.
How would you describe the church you attend? What would you tell someone who didn't understand or know about this God in Jesus Christ that has claimed your life? If you were in an elevator with someone and wanted to share the gifts of the church, what would you say?
Those questions were posed to the confirmation students one Wednesday evening, a group of middle school students who are learning together about God and church, life and faith, doubt and belief. We gather as students together to learn, play, pray, serve, love, and worship. We gather to understand our calls and who God has shaped us to be for the world. So as this particular question was posed, one of the parents was near by and so the daughter asked her father, "Dad, in an elevator, how would you tell someone about God."
This father thoughtfully considered the question. How would you tell someone about God? When he answered, he had each of the students' attention, and he said, "I don't know, if you're in an elevator you have very little time, maybe a minute or two. I think, yes, I would offer just a touch. I would reach out my hand."
Yes, a hand. Reaching out to another. Connecting with another. That's what God is about. That's what this life of faith is about. Reaching out to our neighbors - both friends and enemies. Reaching out to love and serve God by loving and serving our neighbor. The larger church that Christ and Trinity Lutheran Church is a part of is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Over 10,000 congregations make up the ELCA across the US, a diversity of people and congregations, a diversity of expressions and contexts. Together we as the church reach out. Just this past weekend the ELCA encouraged members to take part in a day of service known as God's Work, Our Hands Sunday. A day of service to do what we do every day as people of faith - love, serve, roll up our sleeves, make our communities better places - but to do those things together on one Sunday. So at Christ and Trinity we happily and excitedly took part. We sorted for Open Door, we created health and wellness bags for the women at the CASA shelter (Citizens Against Spousal Abuse) and we spent the afternoon playing Bingo with the residents of Rest Haven. We reached out. We touched another's hand. We felt God's hand guiding us.
In the end we served God by serving our neighbors. We used very few words. We rarely spoke the words of the church that are misunderstood and complicated, but rather we reached out. We laughed. We prayed. We gathered. We sorted. We colored. We collected.