CLERGY CORNER: The hands of God

Posted on 20 September 2018 by LeslieM

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

(1 Corinthians 12:27 ESV)

There is a story about a church in the city of Berlin that suffered damage from World War II. Among the items damaged was a statue of Jesus. While the statue was, for the most part, intact, the hands of Jesus were missing. The congregation responded: “Let us replace the hands of Jesus.” The pastor of the congregation replied: “No, let this be a reminder to us all. We are the hands of Jesus.”

We are the hands of Jesus. We who are called to serve on God’s behalf are, in fact, the hands of God. And with our hands, we do God’s work.

Zion Lutheran Church, my congregation, is a part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Our national church designated Sunday, Sept. 9 as the national day of service. This day is appropriately called: “God’s Work, Our Hands Sunday.” Zion participated by collecting, organizing and packing shoeboxes with items that benefit mariners who come in and out of the Port of Everglades. We supported the inter-denominational ministry of the Seafarer’s House. And, through our efforts, 82 boxes were put together and distributed as a way to say to these men who spend months and months away from their family at sea: “Zion loves you, and we want to give you this gift.” Considering the fact that most of these mariners are from other nations, this project was both local and global.

The reason I share this with you is because of the nature of God’s blessings. We know that we are using our hands to do God’s work. At the end of the day, we hope to be a part of God’s blessing to the Seafarer’s House ministry. In truth, this was every bit as much of a blessing to Zion. In fact, the joy of this experience is still warming my heart.

We gathered in our fellowship hall after our worship service. All ages from elementary through senior citizen were represented organizing, stuffing boxes, wrapping boxes, writing cards, you name it. There was a lot of work going on, but there was just as much laughter and joy. We, of course, had food, music, and many opportunities for our members to visit with each other. And, when it was over, we were blessed to have 82 boxes stuffed and wrapped.

The Seafarer’s House was grateful for our work. I said to them “Thank YOU. You gave us an opportunity to serve, to bond, and to build the body of Christ. Thank YOU for YOUR gift to Zion.”

It is easy for a faith community to get into a rut. Sometimes, I think the word “rut” comes from “routine.” We get fixed into patterns and every once in a while we need to be challenged to get out of our routine, our patterned behaviors, our “ruts.” Serving people is the easiest way to make this happen. And there are as many ways to serve as there are people willing to serve. Our imaginations can run wild thinking of ways people could benefit from our communities of faith.

Imagine if an effort was made that was more than a denominational effort, as was “God’s Work, Our Hands.” Imagine what would happen if every faith community designated a day of service. I can only imagine how many people would be blessed.

But I remind you, among the number of blessed would be the ones being a blessing. As a pastor of a congregation that values serving the community, I am extremely blessed. And when our community of faith puts our heads, hearts and hands together, I was blessed again. And there is one other thing that I almost forgot to mention, “It was fun!”

I know that if I asked the average faith community: “Do you want to be blessed?” The answer would be “Of course.” The good news is that you already are. You have within your community people of all ages with many gifts. You can put those gifts to work and be blessed again, and again, and again, if you put those gifts to the work of community service. We are God’s hands.let us do God’s work.

Pastor Gross is a pastor of Zion Lutheran Church, located at 959 SE 6 Ave., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-421-3146 or visit www.zion-lutheran.org.

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