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Friday, February 12, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Mark 12

Over the last several months, I’ve had a chance to look back and evaluate my first 7 ½ years of ministry. That’s because I formally concluded my time in my first parish. In the process of doing so, I was able to remember a few of those moments that captured what I feel is the essence of my ministry.

One of my favorite moments involved the presentation of a banner that was made by one of the members of the congregation. The individual was a wonderfully loving person who had a passion for contributing to the life of the community. One of her challenges, though, was that she had extremely limited finances. One day – after much thought – she decided she wanted to make a banner for the church. She poured in much time and energy to that banner. Finally, after a couple of months, she brought the banner to church. It was a moving Communion banner that simply read: “In remembrance of me.”

That story wouldn’t be all that unusual if that were all there was to it. That wasn’t all there was to it. If you were to observe the banner by purely objective standards, one could say it wasn’t perfect. The hand-sewn letters were slanted a bit, and the individual misspelled the word “remembrance”.

In many churches, the banner would not have been received (and certainly not displayed!) because it wasn’t perfect by some standards. Our community, however, was able to look beyond the superficial appearance and see that the banner was perfect in the one way that mattered most: love. We hung it in our chapel where our weekly Communion services were held. I had never been prouder of our congregation for “getting” what was most important.

I was reminded of that experience as I read the story that has become known as “the widow’s might” contained in Mark’s 12th chapter. In that story Jesus praises the woman who gave all that she had to go (despite the fact that the amount wasn’t that much by earthly standards).

So are you able to look beyond the superficial trappings and appreciate the offerings of others at their deepest levels; or do you tend to evaluate others contributions harshly?

Til next time…

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