Sunday in church we worshiped using the passage from Matthew 16:21-28. I preached about how important our work is in building the beloved community of God. Much to my surprise I was saying how it is by seeing our work as sacred that we can transform the smallest tasks into ways to bring hope and love into the world. I said even being an usher or hosting fellowship time can be an opportunity to build up the community because who knows if someone will be coming to church and you are the first person they see, and maybe you are the first person all week who has smiled at them, asked them how they were doing. And who knows by providing coffee and a snack you are giving someone an opportunity to talk about their lives with others and find an answer to a question nagging at them all week.
What was surprising about this for me was I did not really plan on saying this exactly. I must confess I was really trying to tie in Labor Day with the scripture , about how sacred work does make a difference. But to compare transformational work that changes lives to ushering? But then it did make sense in other ways, because I have known some very cheerful and inviting ushers who you are always happy to see when you come to church. One of those ushers in fact was on a committee that was interviewing me about my call to ministry. "Do you believe in Jesus Christ?" was his question that set the tone for the rest of the meeting. Yes, I do, and I do believe that God is calling me to a life of ordained ministry, not just then, but now, and every time I doubt this call, when I want to give up, I think of this man's question, of how he put all of the business of ordination into the context of my belief in Jesus Christ.
If we believe with our whole hearts, minds and souls in Jesus and the path he walks with us on, then I don't have to have all the answers, for all the many challenges of life. But I will find that it is often in the ordinary acts of life that I will find hope, and love, in the kindness of the faces of those who greet me when I come to church, in those who faithfully serve their positions in the church so we can make decisions and move forward in offering a message of love and hope to everyone we can. Is that home baked cookie just a home baked cookie, or is it God working through the person who made them? All I know is sometimes a hot cup of coffee is just what I need, and having the time to talk to others over that cup of coffee is a divine experience of building a beloved community.
I challenged my community to look at everyone they meet with an open heart, mind and soul, to learn who they are, and in some way remind everyone whose they are. We are God's mysterious and beloved children who are united with one another through the love and hope of God. As you go through your week I wonder if you can look at each person you encounter as that sacred child of God who you may want to at least see with loving eyes...let me know how this goes.