I was recently asked to share where I saw Christ while on a Mission Trip. My answer was in all the connections we made with other people – connections to the members of our team, to the other team that was at the center at the same time, the staff and to the wonderful people we were serving. There was even a connection made to my grandfather that week! With each conversation and through the work done, I could feel God’s love moving back and forth between all of us.
I have the same sensation when working with the people in our church. The bonds created in the music ensembles are more than just friendships – they are based on Christ’s presence as we work together. Christ is in our boisterous fellowship after worship, in thoughtful study and discussions in Sunday School classrooms and can be felt when we help people through the Food Pantry and Clothes Closet. I even remember leaving a long Administrative Board meeting one night and feeling that God had been in our, at times, heated discussions. These connections tingle with the special sense of purpose that comes from Christ’s presence and God’s love.
I hope you feel that special tingle as well and look forward to making new connections, while strengthening the ones already made.
As we returned from our Mission Trip with the Nehemiah Mission in Cleveland, our team was asked to share the answer to this question: Where did you see Christ? I was touched by the answers of the youth and adults and they made me think of the various situations in which we found ourselves as well as the people we encountered.
One young woman talked about a family we met while painting their house. They had had so many serious set-backs, yet laughed and spoke with joy, and that amazed our team member and made her think about how she would react to disappointments in her life.
Another member of the team saw Christ in another team we met at the mission from Mount Vernon and how they welcomed us into their fellowship even though we were strangers to them.
I saw Christ in the people we served. They were, unsurprisingly, appreciative. But what really stood out was their generosity. So often those who have the least are the most generous! The lady we helped obviously didn’t have a lot, yet she surprised us with watermelon and cantaloupe on the hottest day of our painting project. It was delicious and so very humbling. We came to give to her, but she gave to us—not only the fruit that she shared but also the love that she shared. I saw Christ in her. How do others see Christ in us?
There is a wonderful lift to the spirit when I pull weeds. Outside the office window, there is a plethora of extraneous plants, some that have been there for a long time and some that have sprouted because the birds have scattered the seeds from the feeder. I’m not sure why it feels good to organize this garden, but it does.
I know that I’m not the only one who thinks this way. The Bible is full of references to gardens and seeds. It says, that “for everything there is a season.” Dandelions, for instance, are good food for bees which pollinate our crops, although they’re a headache for farmers and suburban lawns. Poison ivy spreads misery when touched by people, but horses and other animals find the taste delicious.
Are weeds only weeds to the eye of the beholder? Let’s hope we don’t look at people the same way we look at our garden. Let’s appreciate the variety of humans in our midst and weed only the yard.