Today’s Word from Pastor Jim…
The Apostle Paul, and other prisoners of Rome, were adrift at sea in a violent storm. The morning light revealed an unrecognizable land. The ship was suddenly caught on a reef and began to break up. All those aboard were left to sink or swim. It was a chaotic scene to say the least. Gasping for air they struggled to the beach.
“After we had reached safety, we learned that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us unusual kindness. Since it had begun to rain and was cold, they kindled a fire and welcomed all of us around it.” Acts 28
Unusual kindness. My prayer is that the people of Trinity Lutheran Church might be know as “islanders who show unusual kindness.” Kindness matters; kindness makes a difference.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop
“A simple act of kindness throws out roots in all directions and the roots spring up and make new trees.” Amelia Earhart
“When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people.” Abraham Joshua Heschel
This past Thursday I joined our quilters as they prepared to send 25 quilts to Lutheran World Relief for distribution. In pre-pandemic years our quilters produced as many as 300 quilts. Each quilt is unique; a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork, a labor of love that is envisioned in the mind of the artist who brings the fabric to life. The quilts will travel to neighboring states or to the far reaches of the globe. When disasters or famine or war rear their ugly head, the quilts come out to provide color and warmth. The quilts are practical and symbolic. They remind the downtrodden that they are not alone, that someone cared enough about them to craft and send a quilt to them.
A few years ago, I was in Jerusalem with a group of TLC Pilgrims. We visited the Augusta Victoria Hospital on the Mount of Olives overlooking the walls of the Old City. Augusta Victoria is a ministry of the Lutheran Church that provides care and support to the Palestinians in a country where their rights are oppressed. We toured the hospital and heard about the amazing work that was being done there. We saw firsthand the only kidney dialysis unit in service to the Palestinians. The doctor who was acting as our guide then called to our attention the beautiful quilts which rested on each dialysis patient; they were Lutheran World Relief quilts made in basements and backrooms at Lutheran Churches throughout the world. I would like to tell you that they were made at TLC, and maybe they were, but we could not confirm that.
The quilts arrive and play their part. They do not make for world peace; they do not stop pandemics or famines. The quilts arrive during desperate days and offer comfort and hope. Do they really make a difference? Every single act of kindness makes a difference. Every day you and I have the opportunity to practice kindness in its simplest forms; a hand to hold, a card or a meal, a courteous gesture to another driver, a much-needed respite for a tired mother or caregiver, a load of firewood delivered by 75-year-old men from TLC. None of these acts will cure the ills of the world, but they all will make the world a better place.
May we be known as “islanders who show unusual kindness.” The quilters and I held hands and prayed for those unknown sisters and brothers who would one day receive these 25 quilts. And God smiled, and the world became better.
Thanks for being you!
PS: The quilters could use more quilters. They will even train you. Call the church office if you would like more information.