This morning I worship with our youth group at Highland Lutheran Church in Denver Colorado. We heard a perfect sermon for the beginning of our mission trip on the parable of the Good Samaritan. Pastor Dena Williams asked us who we are in the story.
Are we the lawyer, the priest, the Levite, the Samaritan or possibly the innkeeper? Many of us like to think that we are a Samaritan willing to help others. She reminded us that Samaritans were marginalized, foreign, mostly hated people. Is that really how we see ourselves?
Yes sometimes we are people who give help but we can just as easily be the broken person, beaten up and left for dead on the side of the road. We can be beaten up in so many ways: job loss, broken relationships, mental illness, chronic pain. We can give aid but we also at times need to receive aid.
As the youth of Resurrection prepare to serve in Denver I pray that we may be as open to receiving aid and love as to giving comfort and care. We seek to trust Jesus, the storyteller, to give us our proper role.
- Bev Handy and Sylve Keller at Concert
On Sunday I attended an amazing concert with my mom. The quality of music, the venue and length were not that unusual, but the performers were. Lloyd and Maxine Johnson are a married duet who were performing for the 100th time at my mom’s senior residence. The fact that Lloyd and Maxine are also residents and are over ninety adds to my astonishment and joy. Lloyd and Maxine started this ministry of song when they lived in Florida for 25 year and continued when they moved back to Minnesota 7 years ago.
Lloyd and Maxine clearly enjoy what they do as they bring happiness to the audience. The community room was packed with residents, family and friends. Applause and cheers came after each number. I sat with my mom and watched her sing along with tunes from her childhood. Even though she now lives in a memory care unit, she loves having interaction with others. Bev Handy, a resident in the independent living apartments, made sure my mom made it to the concert and had a good seat.
Ministry of service does not end with retirement. The Bible does not dwell on this topic. Abraham started following God’s call at the age of 75. Moses served as leader of the Israelites at age 80. We may stop working a particular job at age 66, but we can still serve our Lord using our unique gifts, strengths and passion in the community around us. For years after her retirement from JC Penny’s, my mom served as a volunteer at her local hospital and church. Now she is benefiting from the service of others, like Bev, Lloyd and Maxine.
I pray that I might be such a joyful servant when that time comes. For now, I plan to focus on my current ministry bringing joy, faith, hope and love to God’s people at Resurrection Lutheran Church.
Where have you experienced joy in service?