I don't believe in Magic but I like to think that today will be a Magical Monday. I am setting my mind to have a great day, dental cleaning included. The reason today is so great is that yesterday was so fantastic and my yesterday is overflowing into today. OK that is kinda magical isn't it? I have to share with you something that made my heart grow five times it's size yesterday. Actually it wasn't so much a something as a someone. I can't tell you his name because I don't know it. I will tell you that God used him to minister to me as much as God used me to minister to him. Here is the story.
Sunday morning church was a flurry of events. We have our advent Chistmon Tree all decorated and in the front of the church. We have our Alternative Christmas Market on display in our activities center and we have a number tables set up for toy drive and the sign up for bell ringers in our courtyard. Every Sunday we have our Open Arms ministry feeding the hungry. Its a full breakfast for anyone who might need a meal and a safe place to have the meal out of the weather. I understand we can feed as many as 300 people on Sunday morning. This is not for our regular church attendance. This is for folks down on their luck. The hard terminology is Homeless or Unemployed. In today's economy we are seeing so many folks who are struggling and this even includes the working at times. Occasionally some of these visitors will come and share a pew with us in our service.
Service begins with music. We have an introduction song that helps people understand that service is starting and they need to get into their seats. Then two songs are sung followed by someone welcoming us to service, usually from one of our pastors and then our final worship song. At the end of the final worship song, our worship leader will say: "before you take your seats, greet one another in the name of our Lord".
Now comes the fun part. I turn to the people all around me, left, right, front, back, back and to the left, back and to the right, front and to the right.. you get the picture. I introduce myself with "Hi, I am Amy, welcome to church, so glad to have you here today." Most people just say, "Good morning", but once they hear me introduce myself they will actually look me in the eye and also introduce themselves too. Yesterday was no different. Well OK it was otherwise you wouldn't be getting this long drawn out story. Yesterday I turned around and greeted the three people behind me when I saw this fellow standing behind me and to my right. I had to lean on the pew to reach him, but I held out my hand and he looked up and I clasp his hand in mind and gave him a great big smile and welcomed him to the service. I noticed he was not a member. He wasn't shaved. He wasn't really dressed for church, even with our dress comfortable casual service. He didn't have very clean fingernails and his clothes probably had not been washed recently. All that didn't matter. I was in the moment and I needed to tell him that he was a child of God and welcomed here. I needed to let him know he was my brother in Christ Jesus and he can still have Joy in his heart even with life's difficulties thrown at him. How do you say all that in three seconds? I will tell you how. Big warm smile that light's up your entire face, eye contact that holds their eyes and a warm clasp of their hand that says, I am your friend and want to share a moment with you. That's just what I did. What I didn't know is what it meant to him.
After the service I got up to leave, speaking to others that I knew. I was busy wishing people a wonderful holiday season when I felt a hand on my shoulder. I was sure it was another friend of mine wanting to wish me a Merry Christmas. Turning around I was surprised to see this same new face that was behind me in the pew. I looked up, confused and waited. He said in a very unexpected joyful tone, "Thank you for the brightest smile today". And then I just turned away, being pushed forward by the others trying to leave the sanctuary to retrieve their children from Sunday School and to do more shopping in the alternative market. My heart soared through the rafters of church as I proceeded down the aisle. I silently thanked God as I was used to brighten someone's day. Then it occurred to me that my new friend had just made my day. He confirmed Gods work in me. I was were I was suppose to be doing the work God created me to do. A smile. That was my job yesterday.
Hours later I reflected on this chance meeting and thought I should have asked him his name. Somehow it was OK that I didn't know his name, I knew God did. I didn't know anything about this fellow other than he sat behind me yesterday at church. The more I have reflected on this moment, the more my heart grew. Mean words just tear us down while kind words lift us up. I believe you can find that exact idea in the book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 12:18 NIV
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Always speak the gospel, use words if you have to.
This is Girl Schmuck signing off