02 August 2005

at church today...

... I was struck by one line in the leaflet. Those six words have stuck with me all day, and I'm going to be thinking them over in my mind for a long time:

The Worship ends; the Service begins.

We are called to honor God in every moment of our lives. Our common prayers to God are only one aspect of our relationship with Him. There's a whole other side of honoring God in all persons that we tend to neglect. I could do more. Most of us could probably do more. My pledge to the Church is meager and will likely stay that way for a while, but I could do more with my hands, with my time, and with the gifts that God has graced my life with. Those gifts aren't so I can feel good about myself or so I can enrich my life. They're not even really for enriching the lives of people I love (although they do, and it is good).The gifts of God are for the people of God. The gifts God gave to me are so that I can best serve others. I am called, as are we all, to live a life of service. No matter how much I argue that I'm busy or I have no money, I could and should make room to work in God's name.

This could be as simple as saying hello to people I normally take as part of the scenery: the teller at the bank; the women who process my paycheck; Ken, who lives on the street and sometimes in a car, with his cat Charlie and his dog Penny; the men who go through my recycling bin on Monday night so they can collect plastics and get enough money for rent. These are the people of God. And the gifts in my life aren't so I can have a good time. It's so that people who are forgotten, marginalized, and pitied... can be loved, honored, and accepted.

I shouldn't do these things merely because they're good, although they are. I should do them because I am called to it as a child of the light, as a believer in Christ in whom we find truth and redemption. Every thing I do and everything I say should honor God. In this way I can offer prayers of service to God and grow into the person I am called to be, because "prayer is responding to God, by thoughts and by deeds, with or without words" [BCP 856].

O Redeemer of all our works, help me to serve you in every person, to be your representative in my daily life and work, and to become the person you created me to be, so that I may honor you in every moment of my days and in every action I undertake. When I am busy, grace me with your calming presence; when I am tired, grant me strength to continue or time to rest; when I am frustrated, remind me that all things work together for good for those who love God. Bless, O Lord, my hands to your service and my deeds to your Name, through your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.