More than one person noted that my first Sunday back from vacation had overcast weather outside and Irish music in the prelude inside. It’s like God was saying, “Hey, it’s good to have you back...”
In our congregational meeting this past Thursday, we discussed several things worth noting. First off, we talked about Vacation Bible School and all of the children and families that were ministered to this year. In particular, it was a bit of a “building” year here, since not only did we have the largest group of volunteers that we’ve ever had, but it was a group that was made up predominately of first-timers. It was great to see several of our younger teens step into roles originally held by their older siblings.
We also talked about our School Supplies Drive, which has collected crayons, glue, scissors, and everything else that the Kindergarten students of Harrison Primary School would need for this Fall. Originally, this was an opportunity that just fell into our laps, and we considered it a one-time chance to help us think outside of our church building and our own ministries and tangibly help our community -- but when we found out that none of the other groups who had similarly pledged to provide for the students at Harrison had actually followed through on their commitment (and that the administrators were understandably very appreciative of our efforts), we offered to continue our School Supplies Drive for the school.
It’s an awesome privilege to be able to make a difference in the world around us. As humans, we tend to look for big things to do, and then to become frustrated if they don’t work out well (Live Aid, I’m talking to you), but the truth is, if all of us simply tried to make small but meaningful differences in the world around us directly every day, this would be a far more joyful planet to live on.
In our message this week, we finished up Paul’s letter to the church in Rome, and much of what he says seems small and mundane, compared to the deep-sounding doctrinal arguments leading up to that last chapter. But it’s the sentiment behind those small comments that are huge in repercussions.
For instance, he greets Greek and Jewish believers as equals, mixing their names in together as if their ethnicity really didn’t matter. He singles out nine women in particular -- in an era when women were regularly dismissed and treated worse than the family’s slaves. He co-mingles affirmations of a Roman civil servant, a Greek homeowner, a child and his mother, Jewish missionaries, a Turkish pastor, etc... because in Christ, they’re all just family. All of this comes to a head when he closes by encouraging the church to turn from those who would try to build walls and cause divisions between people.
The whole of Creation history has been leading up to this moment in time -- and God has been walking through history alongside humanity each step of the way. How can we with the same mouths and voices praise the God and Father of all of us, and then spew vitriol against our brothers and sisters who make up His family?
Stop and think about how you treat each and every person with whom you connect on a regular basis, and decide to make a small difference in the world around you today...
And then do it again tomorrow...