For some time now, a frequent topic in sermons, prayers, and conversations has been the fact that our world seems to be in so much pain as we live out our sinfulness in hatred, violence and selfishness. As disciples of Jesus, we are called to provide a different way of life. Although as sinners our witness is sometimes clouded, I sincerely believe that most of us want to do our best to be servants of Christ and to make a positive impact on the world. So often we hesitate putting ourselves out there because we think we have to do something really big. The truth is that like Jesus, our ministry normally happens one person, one encounter at a time. While Jesus’ ministry eventually impacted the entire world, here on earth he most often cared for people one person at a time. He sat and talked with the Samaritan woman at the well, healed the blind beggar, sought out the woman who had touched the hem of his garment, and brought his friend, Lazarus, back to life. As a result of each of these healings, hopefully, the one who was healed also turned around and demonstrated God’s persistent love to someone else. Jesus’ example speaks to us today. I am privileged to share with you the true story of an encounter experienced by one of our church members, Erin Sherlock. In August, Erin headed off to college in North Carolina after having grown up here at Grace. Erin was one of our young people with whom I went to the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit in the summer of 2015. Here’s what happened to Erin. As she was walking through the college cafeteria late one evening, Erin noticed a person she did not know. He was sitting with his head down and rubbing his eyes. Instead of walking out of the room, Erin approached the person, asking if he was okay and if he needed someone to talk to. The person readily accepted the invitation to talk. Erin describes it this way, “I sat right down and took off my backpack. Ready to listen, he let everything out. I talked. He talked. He cried. I cried.” Mid-conversation he said he wanted to die. But they continued to talk. At the end of the conversation, when Erin stood up to leave, the young man said, “Is it weird if I ask for a hug? “ Erin replied, “Not at all. Bring it on.” During the hug he whispered three life changing words, “You saved me.” Here’s Erin’s own reflection on this experience: “I’ve wanted to change the world for as long as I can remember. I’ve wanted to go abroad and serve. I’ve wanted to become a public speaker. When I thought of changing the world I always thought of making a huge impact. But [this experience] taught me you can change the world in the smallest of ways. I clearly changed this guy’s perspective on life so greatly he didn’t want to die anymore. October, 2016 October, 2016 Grace Notes is also available online at www.gracelc.org/news/grace-notes Page 2 Moral of the story, go out and change the world – it only takes one person to make a huge impact. And don’t be afraid to go up to people and make yourself vulnerable to their life and yours as well.” Well said, Erin. Well done, good and faithful servant! Your Grace family is proud of you as is your biological family! My friends in Christ here at Grace, thank you for your support of the youth ministry and Christian Education and worship ministry of our congregation. Our work together in this congregation is preparing people like Erin Sherlock to go out into this crazy world with faith and compassion. The next time you put money in your church envelope, say a prayer of thanksgiving for the ministry we are doing together. No matter what your age, please take advantage of the many ministries we have here in our congregation. We live in a tough world, so we need to be prepared to go into the world knowing that the Holy Spirit will be at work through us. Thanks be to God for the opportunities that are placed before us. Together we make a huge difference, one person at a time!
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