Ug, what started off to be a good day turned out not so great. I woke up this morning after having hit snooze only twice (instead of the regular 4-5), looked out the window and the sun was shining. I knew it was going to be a good day. I got ready for church, got into the office early, and had everything set up for worship. I even figured out that slight sound problem we have been having (but no one noticed of course) and was able to fix it. Indeed, it was a good day.
The plan for the day was to have worship, followed by a presentation by our friends from L’Arche, and then lunch together to remember the Harvest Moon Festival (of which I am still unsure of the history). Even my kids showed up for worship. Yup, a good day.
But then after service the representative from L’Arche came up to me with a long face. “My car was broken into” she said.
My heart dropped. I was shocked. I was angry. I felt extremely guilty that the one time in I don’t know how long an incident like this happened at the church would happen today and to a visitor’s car, no less.
We went through the presentation and had our lunch, and our friends from L’Arche were so very gracious in everything. Shocked that their car window was smashed and some personal belongings taken, but still in very good spirits. What an inspiration they were as I watched them joyfully clean up the broken glass, support each other as a community, and still find it in them to smile and thank us for hosting them.
Really, if the roles were reversed I would have taken it all a lot harder than they have. Not only did they teach me about community, support, and learning from each other during their presentation, but they showed it to me as well, in a beautiful example of accepting a bad situation like a car break in and stolen goods and still act in joy and peace and love in their community. What an amazing group.
You might think you know what I’m about to say (or type, as it were). Because it we are heading into Thanksgiving weekend I am going to say that even when bad things happen to us we can count our blessings and still be happy and thankful for the things we do have, right?
Well, truthfully I was thinking that, but as I kept looking at today I thought of something else. Something that I learned from L’Arche and watching them interact and support each other and especially something that was said during their presentation. They said that we often go to people that we think are less fortunate than we are thinking that we are there to help them, but then we emerge realising that it was they who helped us.
That is community. Where there is a mutual exchange of help and support, of giving and taking, of strengthening and encouraging, I see the very real presence of Jesus informing us and empowering us to be who we are in the world. The poor lepers were outcast, unwanted, and left behind. But they were outcast, unwanted, and left behind together. They were healed together. And they went off to see the priests together. While just one came back to thank Jesus, Jesus assures him that it is his faith that healed him.
A faith that heals is a faith that supports and loves. The other nine were of the same faith, and while they were perhaps too excited to have smooth clear skin again to remember to give thanks, their joy in their community and support for each other speaks volumes.
This Thanksgiving I remember the many things I have to be thankful for, but I will especially remember the community to which I belong, the lessons that I have learned from it, and how supported I feel both on those good days and on those bad days. I will remember the joy of Christ flowing through us. I will remember the peace that God brings. And I will remember the Spirit of all goodness and grace dwelling in our midst, lifting us up, and empowering us to be God’s sons and daughters.
Have a great week, everyone!