I thought she had fallen. I couldn’t see her torso or her face. She had lurched over the side of the electric cart/scooter. But as I got closer I realized her eyes were open and her hands were moving. She was bending over and pulling weeds. This elderly nun on the grounds of the monastery was driving her electric scooter around to pull up the weeds in the cracks of the sidewalk. Then I chuckled to myself. She didn’t need my rescue. Instead she was my messenger. She was reminding me that deep within each human person is the longing to give of ourselves, to contribute to the beauty of the world, to share our spirit with the Spirit of God in healing creation.
This week is the annual “Celebration of Service” at the church. In worship we will honor those of you who have shared your gifts in countless ways during the last year. We will recall the infinite gift offered by a third grade Sunday school teacher, the compassion of a deacon serving bread and wine to a 95 year old at the nursing home, the hundreds of hours of weeding and planting by our Green Team, the hundreds of masks stitched by our sewers, and the musicians who awaken our souls to God. We will thank our Board Chair, Jeff Zimmerman, and Elder Chair, Anne Hoffman, who have done what no one in this church has ever done before, faithfully and creatively lead us through a pandemic.
But though we will say “Thank you,” and mean it, we are doing more than that. We are celebrating that we are all like that elderly nun on the scooter. We never outlive the need to give. And part of what makes being human and Christian a joy is that we get to participate in the movement of God in this world. We get to share a love that is holy simply by digging in the dirt or cooking taco salad for the homeless. We celebrate that God has called us into this holy endeavor and that in one another’s faces, we have glimpsed the power of God’s love.
I love what Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:
Your life as a Christian should make nonbelievers question their disbelief in God
In early June, we attempted to deliver candles to every household. (If you didn’t receive yours, please let us know.) I love thinking of you lighting your candle every Sunday as we gather for online worship But even more than that, I love knowing that all of you are Christ’s light in the world – doing acts of service for your friends, family, neighbors, strangers every day. It’s something to celebrate!
Grace and peace,