Today is Good Friday. If there was ever a day in which hope needs to manifest itself, then it is this day. Tonight will be a night of music and singing. We need a song in our hearts tonight of all nights. Come and hear our FUMC of Arlington choir do superb and spiritual things as their wonderful ministry.
All of which reminds me, I have a retired pastor friend. Jim Moore told me a story of how the singing of a new song can help the lives of others. It seems that in a certain family there was a mother, father, and four year old boy. The parents were expecting another child and the sonogram said that the child would be a little girl—a sister to the four-year-old brother. The mother decided to let the little boy do something to bond the siblings to one another, and the little boy knew what gift he wanted to give his new, yet to be born sister. Each night, he would place his head next to his mother’s stomach and he would sing to his sister, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine ….” They repeated this ritual each night until the time of delivery.
But when the child was born she was lethargic and did not respond to treatment. After three days in the neo-natal intensive care at the hospital, the little girl took a turn for the worst and seemed to lose her will to live and thrive.
In the meantime, her little brother kept asking when the parents were going to bring the little sister home. The parents, who were obviously worried sick, decided to try something to help rouse the child from her serious situation. So they brought the four-year-old brother to the hospital. On the way to the neo-natal care unit, they ran into an over-zealous nurse who declared that the four year old could not go in to see his sister. The mother said, however, that he was going to sing to his sister and that was the end of the discussion. After singing a verse of the song, “You are my sunshine,” the family went home to wait, hope, and pray. Something of a miracle then happened. The little girl rallied and went home the next day.
The human spirit is remarkable, especially when tuned to voices that can help us in our time of need. The word of God is vital and as Jesus himself said: “My [kindred] are those who hear the word of God and do it” (Luke 8:21).
Many people know our son, Neil, is in the Peace Corps in Madagascar. He is on my mind a lot these days. This reminded me of a story regarding the Peace Corps and our coming now to Holy Week.
“I have a habit,” he said, “of asking taxi drivers in Washington, D.C., if they ever had a Peace Corps teacher. It seems that all D. C. cabs are driven by students from Africa!
Almost without exception a driver will turn quickly to me and start describing a Peace Corps teacher. This is done with the most spontaneous smile of goodwill, because the Peace Corps volunteer teacher, as a rule, made herself or himself a part of the life of the community without making silly comparisons. The volunteer entered into the lives of the people as, how, and where they were. One could observe on the slightest contact how gently and easily these giving young people—and some not so young—bridged the chasm of language, culture, religion, and economic difference. It was love at work, because it is such selflessness, it generates a response of similar selflessness.”
I would hope that this might be our approach to evangelism for FUMC of Arlington. That when we share Christ with others that we might, “enter the lives of the people as, how, and where they are.” This is how Christ becomes incarnate in our world and other’s world too.