Grace and Peace to You!
Winston Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” The great Prime Minister’s thought and our text for Sunday from Romans 12, have been much on my mind in preparing for Commitment Sunday. “Be on fire with the Spirit.” (12:11) is the guiding light of our Ignite! stewardship effort. Both are naturals for our prayerful thinking as we get set to offer our financial commitments to God.
However, Romans 12 is also filled with wonderful moral insights for living. So today I couple Churchill’s thought with another verse from Romans 12, “Love must be real. Hate what is evil, stick fast to what is good.” (12:9) These two thoughts speak to me today as my heart aches and my mind is frustrated. As you may have heard, a rash of vandalism has broken out in the Chester community. Street signs, schools, churches, businesses have experienced varying amounts of property damage over the last two weeks. In four separate incidents on our campus, vandals have broken doors and light bulbs, sprayed painted a wall, broken an alarm and WIFI router and set fire to the Boy Scouts’ American flag.
These two words of wisdom offer me a path forward in the midst of this senseless and costly property damage. It is the path of gratitude and hope. I am grateful for the members of our property committee who have diligently cleaned up and repaired damages, assessed ways to increase security, and have given many extra hours of watchful care for the CPC campus. I am also grateful for the Chesterfield police who have promptly responded to our calls, increased their visibility around our buildings and answered numerous questions. These individuals model “making a life,” for they are giving their time, commitment, expertise and heart to God and our community.
Hope springs from these words as we consider the ministries of God’s love that cannot be deterred by property damage: worship, music education, community meetings like quilters and AA, backpack lunches for school children, Bible study, feeding ministries, Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for needy families, grief support, tutoring, Presbyterian Women and dozens of others. It is through our abiding presence in these ministries and in the community that we “stick fast to what is good.”
So it is that I invite you to pray for our community, for first responders and for lives touched by the ministries on this corner. Paul’s words also invite us to pray for the individuals, and their families, who have chosen this dark and destructive path. May the light of Christ break through their present darkness to heal the brokenness that down the road they may learn the beauty of Churchill’s thought.