We Are Strong (May 3, 2015)

It was a stressful weekend.  I’m generally only able to do one thing a day, but Saturday found me doing three, and Sunday two.  We went to a pancake breakfast sponsored by the organization that takes care of our yard.  The young men who help us are so kind, and we were delighted to find that their organization also houses a Christian bookstore and a coffee house.  They were asking only $1 for breakfast, and we couldn’t understand how they could raise any funds at that price, but when we were there we understood it was a ministry to allow everyone to eat at a price everyone could afford.

The organization helps young people turn away from lives of addiction and learn job skills that transfer into well-paying employment.  It is faith-based, and the name of their bookstore and coffee house is Club 5:17, referring to 1 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”  It was a great start to our day.

Saturday evening we went to an art show opening at the local Agency on Aging.  All the artists were seniors, and the works were a varied assortment of paintings, sculpture, photography, and quilting.  It was part of our community’s Arts Alive program, held the first Saturday evening of each month.  Many businesses, galleries, and museums open their doors free of charge to celebrate the arts.  There may be music, dance, or visual arts on display.

Between these two events we had the weekly shopping, church services, and two Celebrations of Life to attend.  Within a week we lost two long-time members of our church.  Both were lovely women.  One was vivacious and outgoing.  Everyone, it seemed, knew her.  Her service was very well attended.  The reception afterward was so crowded I couldn’t even get through the door.

The other woman was more reserved.  When her family arrived, they were sure they would be the only ones there.  I assured them people from church would be coming as well.  While the church wasn’t full, there was still a good number of people present.  I’m glad her family saw what church family is all about.

I sat with the widower at the second service.  He was so alone, and so sad.  He gripped my hand and squeezed it .  Sometimes he’d share stories, some good, some not so good.  I was so glad I was able to be there for him.  He expressed doubt about being able to continue by himself.  I told him he was strong.  He said no, I was strong, and pointed to my wheelchair.  And that got me thinking.

We are strong.  The fact that we get up each day and live our lives to our fullest proves we are strong.  The fact that we share God’s love, reflect the light of Christ, and participate in our ministries proves that we are strong.  We choose not to let our circumstances overwhelm us.  We choose to present ourselves to the world just the way we are.  “May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father. . .”  1 Corinthians 10:111-12a  

Dear Lord, We thank you for the gift of adversity, which has refined us, like silver and gold, to be your witnesses in this world.  Help us to remember that we are stronger than we think, and that we have invaluable gifts to share.  Amen.

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