I read this E devotion below from Luther Seminary this morning and decided to share it. As we approach Faith in Action/Neighbors Helping Neighbors Weekend on May 16th and 17th, we are reminded that as a community of faith we feel called to bring simple kindness and help to our neighbors. Sometimes this takes the form of a newly painted house, rebuilt porch or steps. Sometimes it takes the shape of a quilt made by hand and sent to a family on the other side of the globe. Sometimes our kindness looks like a ditty bag filled with things that make a seafarer’s months aboard ship a bit easier to bear. Sometimes we bring hope to a family when we build a wheelchair ramp to help someone stay in their home. We do all of this not because of how it makes us look to others or because of how it makes us feel [although it feels GREAT!]; we do it because sharing a simple kindness or comfort or giving help allows us to heed the call of God. We love God by loving our neighbors—one by one; quilt by quilt; meal by meal; yard by yard; roof by roof; ditty bag by ditty bag. No fuss. No fanfare.
“In Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, it is a sorry group of friends and family who, like Ivan Ilych himself, despite marked accomplishments and status, are found woefully wanting in time of mortal need. Rather, it is the butler’s young assistant, Gerasim, who brings comfort to his master, cheer to his room kindness and candor to his dying. “We shall all of us die, so why should I grudge a little trouble?” Raising Ivan’s legs to ease the pain. Attending to the needs of illness. Bringing closeness and comfort to one used to being left alne. “It is God’s will. We shall all com to it some day.” For Gerasim, God’s will meant bringing simple kindness and comfort to anothers’ need. No fuss or fanfare.”
Dear Lord, We thank you for those neighbors, known and unknown, who simply bring your love by their unheralded kindnesses to those who need it. Help us to follow their example. Amen.