I recently received three letters from friends in the ministry, names deleted, of course. These represent the views of their parishoners.
One letter comes from a nine year old boy in Kenya:
"I done ...
Hope, tragedy and repentance are the threads that weave the tapestry of life. We experience them at different times in our lives and in varying degrees. Each time we decide how we will deal with them. Some of them are easy to deal with like the boy who is thrilled with food and water. Still we have food and water and fail to celebrate it. So we miss the chance to rejoice once again and fail to thank God. The college Junior had so much and never appreciated it all; she was high and absorbed in her life style when her parents provided for her adequately. Are we any different from her? Are we absorbed in our lifestyles whatever they are? Are we high on our cause or lastest thing? Are we to busy to notice someone hurting beside us? Is there a tragedy next to us ready to happen and we are insensitive to that person? Should we all join the third man who had repented and changed his way of life? Is our way of life hurting sommeone because we are insensitive or uncaring to human need? We all see tragedy every day. Sometimes it is off is another country like Haiti and sometimes it is very close by-maybe our neighbor or frined. We think I never dreamed they were in need. They never ask for help. People hurt silently.People die alone. We must do the reaching out. Look for one in need. Reach out for the lonely, the hurting, the holic of whatever brand. People need people. You and I are people. We can reach people. We too have at times needed people; how fortunate we were if someone was there for us. I have been disabled and often needed someone--sometimes were it not for God, I would not have made it.
Funguy, no one would make it without God at their side. Whether we acknowledge Him or not, He is there.
There have been many times when I had to question why I faced the miseries I faced. I found out later that these were priceless learning experiences. We learn best from our insight, but often it takes a firm tap on the top of my head to get me to see what is there, just beyond the provable.
We do as much by providing the conduit for people who want God's blessing and counsel to come to us as any other method. That conduit is the Church. Faulted Christians, helping other faulted Christians, make a better stewardship of our lives.
No Christian ever considered himself holy. We get to know the Lord, not just by reading the Bible, but by that first essential, the present-moment life of active, living faith.
I find a little of myself in all three of these people -- they are real persons. Only the second have I never met in person. The other two, I have met. Their lives are real.
Separated from God in mortality, is the Pope any less impoverished than the Kenyan child who never had clean, wholesome water? Separated from God in mortality, is Hillary Clinton any less desperate than the stripper? Separated from God in mortality, is Barrack Obama any less guilty -- or less repentant -- than the young man who stabbed his dad?
The only difference I see is our attitude. If we can be humble enough to walk beside God -- holding His hand as would your child hold your hand and with the same simple faith -- we have done far more than the proudest kings who did not.
In Jesus' Name, I bid you peace.
Chaplain John, we are privileged to serve God and to serve people. We need the same love, grace, forgiveness and God's gracious hand to hold on to in our difficult times and as we are vessels of His grace to others. We all live by faith and trust in a gracious God; we know Him as Jesus Christ. If peoplle would turn to Him He would heal so many of their brokken lives and bring peace and joy into their hearts. May God bless you and your work as you touch many lives. Your words are so true; we can always count on God.