By this everyone will know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. For me, this is the core message of our faith. Love one another. And, in Acts, Peter confirms that Gentiles, that is, others, are worthy of love as well.
We all know that sometimes, we just don’t get this. We talk a lot about how we fall short of Jesus’ commandment to love one another. But today, let’s talk about the times we get it right. We do a lot of good deeds around here, some small, and some pretty big. And I’m betting that every one of us can think of a time when we found ourselves in the right place to do the right thing, maybe for someone we didn’t even know, When I look back on experiences like that, sometimes I feel as if it wasn’t really I who did that, or said that – God was using me. I’m just glad I could get out of the way, and let God use me.
When did you get it right? When might you have been the face of Jesus for someone?
I’m going to tell you a little story about something that happened to me, and then I hope that a few other people will feel comfortable sharing a few sentences about a time they felt as if they were showing God’s love.
It was maybe 15 years ago. I was setting up the altar on Saturday, and there was a work party that day, so several people were around, and the church doors were open. I saw a woman I didn’t recognize, kneeling in one of the front pews, praying. Then she got up, and I heard her tell someone that her grandson was having surgery the next week. That person was in the middle of some task, and didn’t really know how to respond, so she started walking out. Here’s what went through my mind: her grandson can’t be very old. If he needs surgery, he might have a birth defect. I know something about birth defects (since I’d been looking a birth defect data for about 20 years). I also thought, she wants to talk to someone, and the first person she found wasn’t able to talk to her, so she’s leaving. I need to talk to her. So I scurried off after her. As soon as I caught up with her and spoke to her, she started telling me all about her grandson (who did have a birth defect), and pretty much all about herself. I realized right away that what I really needed to do for her was mostly just to listen, and I did. I couldn’t tell her anything that someone who knew far more than I did about her grandson’s case already had. My knowledge probably helped me to be a more active listener, but who knows? I just know that I was in the right place at the right time, and I think that with God’s help, I gave her something she needed right then.