Several summers ago I was recovering from surgery on my vocal cords and couldn’t speak for a week. I was out walking one very hot Sunday afternoon and began to panic because I had run out of water and was still a mile from home. One of the churches on the corner of a busy intersection was having a “Getting to know you” picnic on their grounds as an outreach to all those speeding by. Ah, thank you, God. Here I can get a refill for my water bottle and make it home.
There were lots of warm, friendly congregants out on the front lawn, pouring lemonade and passing out cookies and information about times of their services. Because I couldn’t speak, I smiled and indicated my empty water bottle. All these years later, I’m still hurt by the detached indifference I experienced. The smiling hospitality members took a few steps back and walked away. No one would make eye contact with me. I was, I guess, the odd, sweaty interloper who wasn’t speaking and kept pointing to her water bottle. For some reason that made me scary, or at least not the person they were hoping their picnic would attract.
But I’m a SOMEBODY! I’m a SINGER! I’m just TEMPORARILY DISABLED! I’ll be at the top of my game again in a DAY OR TWO!
And you know what? That day never came.
How glad I am now for that tiny peek into the world of those who come into our churches without resumes, without connections, but with a sliver of hope that someone will notice them and reach out. The “last” are actually SOMEBODIES, as those of us who have been “first” a lot will surely one day find out.
Sharing God’s Word at Home
What experiences of “first” and “last” have shaped your life?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).