Walking with the Saints
Wednesday, April 10 is the Fest of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Scientist and Military Chaplain, who believed that God’s creation continues today and that each of us participates in that creation. We each have a role in the creation, says de Chardin, if only by the “humble work of our hands” and, I would add, using our hands in service to others.
Someone once said, “Nothing is little in God’s service,” and I believe de Chardin knew this as well. The Bible, of course, tells us much about service:
Luke 12:35 – Jesus says: “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he come and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
Joshua 24:15 – “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Samuel 7:3 – “Commit yourselves to the Lord and serve him only.”
Romans 12:11 – “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.”
Galatians 5:13 – “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”
Ephesians 6:7 – “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.”
Colossians 4:23-24 – Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
I Peter 4:11 – “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”
Clearly, in serving one another, we are serving Christ. And even the smallest, seemingly insignificant act is truly serving God.
We know this, right? It’s common sense. So much so, there was a movie about serving others, in little ways or not, called “Pay it Forward”, which, believe it or not, was released 19 years ago! You remember the movie: The story of a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. When one young student creates a plan for "paying forward" favors, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, has blossomed into a profound national phenomenon.
So, we know doing even small things is pleasing to God and even pleasing to us. This is most certainly part of God’s creation. And each of us can probably think of a time, not so long ago, when we received a small act of kindness; a small act of service from a friend, a family member, even a stranger. Someone lets you pull in front of them in bumper-to-bumper traffic; your neighbor brings in your garbage can from the curb. Lots of “little things”.
The trick, I think, is to not only pay the service forward, but to understand the intrinsic value of all acts of service, even the small ones. And not of just one act of service, but many. Because when we, as a community, begin to practice boundless service, we begin to see Christ all around us! As we serve one another, we are really serving God. And with each small act of service our eyes are opened to God in our midst. To God’s creation.
That sounds like a place I want to be! So, let’s think what practicing boundless service looks like. Well, we see it all the time here at COS. We see it in the dedicated service of our Greeters and Ushers every Sunday morning. We see it in the tireless work of the Altar Guild, the Flower Guild and the choir. We see it in our many outreach ministries like Laundry Love, Jubilee Homes and Prism. We see it in our weekly mid-week worship offerings at the Community of Divine Love and Centering Prayer. Boundless service is all around us. Christ is all around us. God’s creation is all around us.
So, let’s remember, as de Chardin believed, that we actively contribute to God’s creation. And one way we do so, is to practice boundless service through our seemingly simple gestures. Let’s practice this boundless service and do so with reckless abandon. And in so doing, we are contributing to God’s creation, as de Chardin believed, through the “humble work of our hands”.