Yesterday I wrote about kindness, and how it surprised me that this word appeared on my "radar" so abruptly and constantly at the beginning of the year.
As a certified lay minister, I am interviewed every other year by the District Committee on Ministry. I was driving to that interview, thinking about what questions the committee might ask me, rehearsing answers in my mind. Do you do that?
"What has church meant to you this past year?" I'm not sure that question came to mind, but it did. Last year had challenges, and as I thought about the question, I said (in my mind), "If I consider last year, I think of the ways the church - not just my local church, but the Church - has helped during the challenges we had. I think about all of those who were supportive between the month when Steve lost his job (reduction in staff) and when he started his new one. I think of the friend who offered assurances that "everything will work out." I think of the friend who offered the services of his sister to review Steve's resume. I think of all of the people who offered both concrete and emotional help.
I think about when our dog was lost. I remember the man who took off work to look for her. I remember all of those who offered understanding, concrete advice and help. I think of the card the choir sent to us after Molly had been found. I think of the friend who knew what to do, how to do it, and then sent a card when there was nothing else to be done. I remember the friends who listened to the whole story - more than once - as we worked through our sadness and anger.
I remember what church has been, and all of those actions of all of those people can be summed up in the word kindness.
I have received kindness; no wonder God wants me to think about ways to offer it.