"The limitless loving devotion to God,
and the gift God makes of Himself to you,
are the highest elevation of which
the heart is capable;
it is the highest degree of prayer.
The souls that have reached this point
are truly the heart of the Church."
The Rev. Judi Howell and The Rev. Dr. Gloria Kennedy
I'd be the first to admit I'm not a student of the Bible. I know a few verses but rely on Bible.com to help me find a passage I'm looking for. I do know, however, that the Bible is full of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Moses was a stutterer, yet he was chosen by God to speak for his people in front of the Pharaoh. David was a little kid who downed Goliath with one good shot. Mary and Joseph were going about their daily business when an angel spoke to them and changed their lives forever. John the Baptist, by all accounts was a bit of a fruitcake, yet when he spoke people listened. Jesus picked fishermen to share his ministry - not priests, politicians or publicists.
It doesn't take a student of the Bible to know that the common denominator among these people was that they were chosen by God to make a difference. Sometimes the Almighty speaks through burning bushes. Sometimes His words are written on slabs of granite. Sometimes He speaks to people in the stillness of their dreams, and sometimes He speaks in the humble actions of every day people.
The ones "who help at the soup kitchen, or lead the Bible study or make quilts or visit the Veterans hospital. Some of them are barely getting by, but still manage to bring something to the potluck or make a donation to World Hunger. When they say they'll pray for you, you know they will. These are women and me you can count on. They see service and loving loyalty - hesed - as an expression of their faith."*
I dare say all of us know people like this. Even if we don't always know them personally, we see their good works and are moved to be like them. There are several of these people where I worship. I have witnessed saintly deeds performed by every day people. In particular, the Mothers pictured above.
Over the last couple of years Mtr. Judi and Mtr. Gloria have quietly and faithfully served our church with their prayers and simple ministry of presence. Whether leading a Bible Study, making a hospital visit, holding the hand of one who is dying, praying for healing, sipping tea, singing praises or serving Communion, the Mothers humbly go about the Lord's business. They love.
"Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels,
simply by pouring out love.
Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy."
The Mother's often visited my father before he passed away. They made him laugh as often as they calmed my nerves and wiped away my tears. They encourage me in my spiritual walk. They bless me every week when they greet me with a smile.
It's hard to tell sometimes what God has planned for your life. It's especially hard when one is running around like a goof ball shouting at heaven for a neon arrow to point the way. I think the trick (which is especially hard for me to do) is to get quiet and listen. And maybe all you have to do is follow the example put right in front of you.
Today I'm grateful for Mtr. Judi, Mtr. Gloria. I'm grateful for ordinary people who aren't afraid to go when they are called. Or if they are afraid, go anyway.
Wishing for you the answers to all your prayers.
* Kate Sprutta Elliott, "Voices: Unexpected Heros," Lutheran Woman Today, May 12, 2008