Today’s Word from Pastor Tom Kidd…
Picture an early 80-year-old, diminutive frame (maybe 5 feet) with flaming red hair. She probably weighed maybe four pounds more than her age. She walked like she should have been there five minutes ago. Always. Never slower. Lucy was a force who made you feel like she had been your best friend since kindergarten and I never ever left a conversation with her without feeling profoundly valued. Even if it was 45 seconds in passing on the way to the fellowship hall. Lucy loomed way larger than her petite frame.
Her red hair and red lipstick were a metaphor for her passion. She loved her ’65 Mustang, her joy in being first to provide for a funeral reception, her friends, cooking for her friends, her church. And she loved her roses. Love of roses was something we held in common. Our mutual disdain for Black Spot was also something we held in common. Oh, how we hated Black Spot. There was this one morning where I was working in my oﬃce, fixated on word smithing, when in she walked holding a small vase with a single beautiful full-bloomed thirty-five petaled red rose, “I don’t give my Mr. Lincolns to just anyone.” Her hallmark little grin betrayed the joy she felt in giving a gift she knew would be appreciated. I love Mr. Lincolns.
When Lucy died, her three children and I sat down to plan a service befitting someone whose generosity was exceeded only by her desire to stay out of the limelight. The service was “Lucy.” Full of music and scripture and the roses she loved. I would like to think it was fitting of a small, red haired woman who knew her place in the economy of God’s plan and Christ’s love. After the service her children had me meet them at Lucy’s already-sold Bellevue home. “Take any rose plants you want.” They explained that her house would soon be torn down for a larger West Bellevue edition and the plants would most likely be plowed up. “Oh, Mom also wanted you to have her rose book collection… and her trowel.” I also got her St. Francis garden statue thrown in as an added bonus. You can never have too many statues of St. Francis lying about.
Knowing roses are candy to deer, Lucy’s roses made it to Whidbey in pots that reside on the back deck. The transplant was challenging for them but after a couple of years they have mostly recovered. I visit with Lucy regularly on the back deck. We both hate Black Spot.
With that said, it is significant to note that Lucy’s life was ordinary. Just like mine. Just like most of ours, we will not be remembered for great things but for the somewhat ordinary things we did that left a memory behind. The story of Lucy’s rose plants means nothing to anyone but me. Oh, someone may stop to visually admire, or to catch a downwind scent that evokes a smile, but their story is mine. Having said that it, is also imperative to remember that it is the beauty of the common things that we do in love that change the course of human history for the better. The world is better for Lucy’s love of roses and for her selfless spirit, regardless of whether we personally knew her.
Colosse was a church tied in knots with all kinds of mini heresies and exclusionary practices that were getting in the way of the Gospel of Good News. So, Paul concludes his letter to the Colossians with this exhortation:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another. Forgive as the Lord forgives you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (3:12-14)
To be honest, these are pretty ordinary qualities that become extraordinarily powerful when bound together in a Christlike forgiveness and love. And the world is changed. For the better, powerfully. You belong to a church that is changing the course of history for eternity. Certainly, by some extraordinarily generous gifts. But mostly by all the “Lucys” of TLC who share their ordinary “roses” of love that become part of the stories of countless others. A rose by any other name is still a rose. Christlike forgiveness and love by any other name is anything but ordinary, it is life-changing.
I wish for you the sweet scent of love shared today.