Oh sh…. That’s what came into my mind as the four young children entered the office last night around 5 p.m. asking if Pastor Heather could come out to play. I really wanted to hang out with the musicians in the office, preparing for the Praise Rally on Saturday. Or make phone calls to some of the people I need to touch base with in the evenings. But there they were, scurrying all around the office..
I walked the kids to the gym. They watched Coach’s players move around for about 5 minutes. And, then they were ready to move around. “Can we paint” one asked. “I don’t want to paint,” said another. I pursued the first idea which led me to the school pantry.
The school pantry is a project of my daughter’s sponsored through a Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) grant, to make sure kids in our neighborhood have the physical supplies they need to succeed. The children grabbed item after item, asking “can I have this?” It made “are we there yet” sound like a fond memory. Rulers, simple calculators, paper, pens and pencils all found their way into bags—the little girl organizing it with great care.
We talked about Jesus for about a minute. “My mom says I should cry about Jesus…you know how he died for us.” Two of them looked sad for a moment, then they were off, racing around, looking for more loot. “Can I have this?”
When they were satiated, the painting forgotten, they wanted to know if they could come tomorrow. “No. I’m not here tomorrow. Ministers have a lot of things they have to do; a lot of people they need to talk with; people who are in need of one to show them the ways of God” I said.
I arranged for them to come a week from today, from 4 – 5 p.m., because if I can keep them in God’s Spirit for an hour, it will be a victory. They asked for milk and cookies. That I can do. I have their apartment numbers and their phone numbers. And, I’m coming up with a plan to keep them in the courtyard with a container of games & toys they can play so they aren’t tempted by things like paper clips, staplers, and the amazing paper cutter.
That’s how it is here. God never seems to leave me, leave us, alone. Opportunities to serve abound.
Tomorrow we open the doors to two new exercise groups—one for moms and young children and the other for elders. I’m counting on all those fitness classes I’ve taken over the years to come up with ways to get people moving. And then there’s Debra, coming up with all kinds of ideas on the fly, who has also made lunch for the seniors. Community and an opening to better health are our goals.
Saturday is our Praise Rally which features a new thing—a gospel jam where people who play instruments are invited to come forward and jam for 15 minutes on some well-known gospel songs. We also have singers, a dancer, and some who praise through stylized sign language movements to Christian songs.
On Sunday…a message on how it matters to the community how we choose to commit our selves and our bodies.
Come on, admit it, despite memories of scratchy suits and sitting out long sermons in uncomfortable pews, these days, church is on the move and it is never boring! When “oh sh…” becomes “oh boy, an opportunity to make a difference,” you know the Holy Spirit is at work.
Reverend Heather Miner