It struck me last night, as I looked out on the ashen foreheads of God’s people gathered for the Ash Wednesday service. It struck me last night, what our community and island might be like if Christian people wore those ashes every day.
In theory anyway, there are a lot of people out there professing Christianity. Some like church and some don’t. Some like formal worship with predictable liturgies and some like informal services with less predictability. Some like classical music and some like praise songs.
In theory anyway, there are a lot of us Christians out there and we should find our unity not in our politics or musical preferences, but in our faithful following of the ways of Jesus.“
We are one in the spirit, we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Lord and we pray that our unity will one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love. Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” Jars of Clay.
Three emails this week. One from college student missing home, one from a poor person trying to make it through the winter, and one from a practicing Buddhist. Three emails one theme.
The college student expressed a deep appreciation for TLC. A deep appreciation for a place of grace, for an open door, for worship that is meaningful and playful. A deep appreciation for a non-judgmental church where everybody is welcome. He said that he listens to the sermons every week.
The poor person is a neighbor of yours, lives in the woods, barely survives. Your neighbor is not a church person, in fact, they have little use for religious movements. But this neighbor, this child of God, was cold and broke and unable to work. Our wood ministry team rolled in with a fresh delivery of dry wood. The poverty was still present but the chill was off the day, the home would be warm that night. The email expressed a deep appreciation for people who would love those who will never be in a position to pay them back.
The email from the Buddhist expressed a deep appreciation for the funeral service of Bill Read. Raised a Catholic and now a practicing Buddhist, she had never worshiped with the Lutherans before.
She wrote, “Your kindness, gratitude, love and compassion came through. It was wonderful to witness.”
It struck me last night that perhaps we should keep those ashen crosses on our heads all year long. It would remind us that every kind deed bears witness to the one who died for us.
May they know we are Christians by our love.
My love to you!