Thursday, May 18, 2006

She Showed Up on Thursday Morning


Skip's sermon this past Sunday spoke directly and emphatically to me, the way they do sometimes. The texts were about love of neighbor, and the challenge at the end was for us hearers to be on the look-out for the person God would be asking us to minister to this week.
. . . .
The sermon falls at the same point in the liturgy each week. This time, though, it was especially appropriate that the sermon asking us to be Christ to our neighbor came just before Eucharist, where we take Christ within us, and then are sent out.
. . . .
It has stayed with me all week. Since I didn't know who it might be, I've found myself being a little bit nicer, a little bit gentler, and even -- gasp -- a little more patient. I've gone out of my way to be pleasant to cranky parents who've called the school and I've been more cheerful about Joe's need to be out for business a little more than usual. I initiated a couple of phone calls to people I'd been neglecting. That kind of thing. On Monday when I was driving to school, the rain was coming down so torrentially that it impeded visibility -- I kiddingly emailed Skip I'd slowed WAY down in case the person God was putting in front of me was up and about early on a wet morning; I certainly didn't want to HIT her!
. . . .
So it has been a good week, holding this thought in the foreground
. . . .
She showed up on Thursday morning. She's a parent of a student at the school, and for some time now, each time she passes through the lobby, she looks in my window and waves to me. I was sure we'd been introduced at one point, but I really had no idea who she was. I always smiled and waved back as she went out the door.
. . . .
Thursday morning of the week I was watching out to see who God wanted me to minister to, she got as far as the lobby door, turned around, came in and sat down. Started to talk about what has been going on for her this year, the short-term and long-term struggles she faces. I listened. She went on. Of course, I realized quickly WHO she was and WHY she was in my office, and it suddenly became very easy for me to do what often is difficult or awkward. When she spoke about "seeing someone," I started talking about the Stephen Ministry program at St. Paul's, and how it works. She looked very interested. She asked where the church was, what time the services are, saying that since she has moved, the trip to her church is much too long and she was thinking of looking around. And, yes, she happens to be a Lutheran.
. . . .
I wrote down the address and the times of the Sunday service and she said she might well come to visit this Sunday. She said she'd think about Stephen Ministry and come back. And then she went on her way, with the little post-it note in her hand. Her always-friendly smile was a little bit bigger.
. . . .
So I smiled to myself, too, thinking that the person had shown up and it had been good.
. . . .
And then it dawned on me that I really wasn't sure whether Skip had said "person" or "persons." And the week isn't over yet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love the way you told this story -- and the title was perfection! You have my admiration (and a bit of envy) for how you can see the need that lies beneath the surface and confidently address it.

Frequently unfortunately oblivious,
Marsha