A New Perspective - Devotions for the Wisconsin Annual Conference
Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me’ (Matthew 25:40).
Fred Craddock tells a powerful story of his father. He writes:
“My mother took us to church and Sunday school; my father didn’t go. He complained about Sunday dinner being late when she came home. Sometimes the preacher would call, and my father would say, ‘I know what the church wants. Church doesn’t care about me. Church wants another name, another pledge, another name, another pledge. Right? Isn’t that the name of it? Another name, another pledge.’ That’s what he always said . . .
“One time he didn’t say it. He was in the veteran’s hospital, and he was down to seventy-three pounds. They’d taken out his throat, and said, ‘It’s too late.’ They put in a metal tube, and x-rays burned him to pieces. I flew in to see him. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t eat. I looked around the room, potted plants and cut flowers on all the windowsills, a stack of cards twenty inches deep beside his bed. And even that tray where they put food, if you can eat, on that was a flower. And all the flowers beside the bed, every card, every blossom, were from persons or groups from the church.
“He saw me read a card. He could not speak, so he took a Kleenex box and wrote on the side of it a line from Shakespeare. If he had not written the line, I would not tell you this story. He wrote: ‘In this harsh world, draw your breath in pain to tell my story.’
“I said, ‘What is your story, Daddy?’
“And he wrote, ‘I was wrong.’”
Sometimes tragedies have a way of allowing us to look at our life through a new lens. This new perspective can help bring us to new insights. How have the challenges of 2020 become a new lens for you? What do you think God is inviting us, as the church, to be and become?
2020 has helped me to relearn what Fred Craddock’s father learned, the strength of the church is that we are the people of God, gathered around Jesus. May we learn to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this world.
Prayer: Holy One, into your presence we come on this day. Give us the eyes to see the people you have placed before us are a gift. Give us the hands that we need to help our neighbor. Give us the feet we need to stand for justice. Give us the voice we need to speak words of hope and life, rooted in you. Give us what we need for this day. In the hope Jesus offers us, Amen.
May this devotion provide you with a moment of faithful reflection and care. You are involved in ministries of justice and witness, in ministries of standing up and standing with people working to create better systems and communities, in ministries of learning and searching and researching to become more aware and awakened, more technologically savvy and proficient, more virtually and personally present in your churches and communities and world. Each of us who serve as members of your Wisconsin Cabinet write these devotions in grateful prayer for you – for sustenance and buoyancy, for strength and courage, for safety and just actions, and for faith and love to be full and fulfilled in your daily lives. God’s grace and blessings, God’s challenge and healthy discomfort, God’s Spirit and energy be with you, in the hope Christ offers us all.