The 11th Hour
Two exceptional things happened today.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Princeton to visit those two great people, David and Elizabeth. Today, their son Joe came to Providence to have a cup of coffee with me and catch up on life.
You see, Joe just spent a year in Austria teaching English as a teaching assistant via Fulbright (I believe), and he was recently selected to complete a second year there. He's so stoked, and I'll tell you what--I'm just as excited for him as he is! Listening to him talk about his experiences overseas, and seeing his passion for learning and being abroad and his love of Jesus, these are all so inspiring and encouraging. I felt energized and über grateful (<--German) after our conversation because I see awesome things happening in his future, both for him and for the lives of those around him.
Same Princeton trip: I roadtripped with a friend, and that friend is a girl named Lauren. Well, she's about to leave her current job at Brown and resign from her role at Sanctuary Church in order to go into full time ministry at a college in RI. Tonight was a backyard BBQ party (i.e. Tacos and pizza) for all the volunteers at Sanctuary who have worked under Lauren's guidance as Volunteer Coordinator, as a way of honoring and blessing her.
I technically belong to another church and have not been one of the volunteers at Sanctuary. I had no reason to go, but I really wanted to attend this blessings party because I love Lauren and this Sanctuary community. So, I did as the parable of the workers did and begged for work at the final hour of the day.
I asked one of the pastors if I could "volunteer to help with the volunteer event." I bought plates and napkins and watermelons and drinks, delivered them to the party house, picked up the catered food, etc. and was allowed to stay for the celebration.
I got all the same benefits as the volunteers who've been serving for years, and I only offered one day of work. I feel this ought to be highlighted if for no other reason than to demonstrate just how gracious and loving God is, and I'm thankful that the pastors were so awesome as to show me the same kind of "wage" as everyone else earned.
Anyway. The point is that we got to stand in a big circle with Lauren in the middle and talk about all the ways she has been a guiding light for us, an integral part of our Sanctuary experience, and an example of what Jesus' love looks like. Anyone who has met Lauren knows this, and it was so uplifting to hear all the stories from all the people of what a single person can do to impact others' lives. Lauren has inspired us all to be better people--to be more joyful and generous and welcoming--and it was such a beautiful time and a hopeful time to see where we all go from here.
Because, I dare to say, I think the ripple effects have only just begun.