When people want to know why is it is that I spend my time proclaiming the message of what some all an archaic institution or the crutch of a religious life, what they normally want to hear are stats of how many attended worship or how many new members we have, etc.
But, what I want to keep drawing people’s attention to (and mine too) are the small moments that may not show up in the numbers but are life-changing nonetheless.
One of these moments happened on Sunday.
It was the birthday on Friday of our youngest members, Will. You may remember me speaking about his baptism back in October.
Will and his mom have been through a tough time recently. They have been living with friends and in shelters. They had a trip overseas during Christmas not turn out as planned. There wasn’t a traditional celebration of Christmas in their household. Nor, was there any funds to make sure that Will’s 12th birthday would be different.
But, enter the church-
Two members who have helped Will’s mom out with rides to church, learned of his upcoming birthday. These two women planned a surprise birthday party for Will during our coffee hour this week. The church office sent out an email requesting that members bring a small gift to services with them.
Sunday came and we had a cake. Will got his favorite to drink, lemonade. There were lots of cards and presents.
You should have seen the look on Will’s face, especially with glee as he said, “This was the most presents I’ve ever gotten in my life, and the best birthday ever!”
No, it is not what most 12-year-old boys would hope for: a party with their church. But, for Will it was just right. He was reminded again of all the adults who love him and who are cheering him on.
I remember saying at Will’s baptism, to the congregation: “Here is your child.” It makes me proud seeing the family rally around this one and countless others who God has brought our way.
Surprise birthday parties like this one is the beauty of church!
Thanks be to God.