Tuesday, June 13, 2017

He Has Risen and We Are Rising

This past March, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission announced the 20 people who were receiving their Carnegie Hero Fund Award (http://www.carnegiehero.org/).  This award is given every year to “individuals in the United States and Canada who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree saving or attempting to save the lives of others.”  In looking through the list I was struck by how often ordinary people, when thrust into special circumstance, are able to do extraordinary things.  Take, for example, one of the award recipients, Madison L. Williams from Dublin, OH.  Here is the description of her service from the press release:

Madison L. Williams saved a boy from drowning, Dublin, Ohio, August 27, 2016.  A 2-year-old boy fell through the small, ground-level hatch of an underground septic tank on a residential property and submerged in sewage about 4 feet deep.  Neighbors who responded to the scene could not reach him in the 8-foot-deep tank.  Alerted to the situation by her mother, Madison, 13, student, lay on her stomach and, positioning her arms over her head, entered the 12-inch-wide opening to her thighs while others secured her by the legs.  She skimmed the surface of the sewage with her hands searching for the boy for several moments before she saw his foot.  Madison grasped the boy’s foot and shouted at the others to be pulled out.  As she and the boy were being lifted from the tank, the boy’s free foot became stuck under the inside lip of the hatch.  On Madison’s instruction, she was lowered somewhat and was able to reposition the boy.  Those on the ground then pulled her and the boy completely free of the opening.  The boy was not breathing but was then revived, and he fully recovered after hospital treatment.  Madison required medical treatment for damage to her left wrist that required a brace for two months and physical therapy.  She too fully recovered.   (http://www.carnegiehero.org/madison-l-williams/)

There are times in life when we find ourselves thrust into special circumstances, and we end up doing things we never would have imagined.  Who wants to be lowered into a septic tank through a 12 inch hole while being held by the legs?  But when a child was in danger, Madison gave herself in this service. 

This is reminiscent of the situation faced by the followers of Jesus.  After Jesus was crucified, buried, and rose from the grave, the 12 Apostles were suddenly thrust into a difficult situation.  Before this, the Gospels often portray them as being a bit dense, often misunderstanding Jesus, and coming across as being very ordinary.  When Jesus was crucified, they all let him down.  But after the Resurrection they stepped up their game, rising to the occasion.  In the shadow of the risen Christ they grew into extraordinary leaders. 

Maple Avenue has a history of being served by individuals who are willing to step forward when needed, and offer themselves for others.  We have sent many people overseas to serve in World War 1, and World War 2, and every conflict since.  And we are proud and grateful to the people who helm various committees and ministries, and who give sacrificially.

Many have already served above and beyond, and a sincere “thank you” to all these people.  But what about you?  I invite you to prayerfully consider the needs of the present, and how God is calling you to live your faith.  And to inspire your thoughts, I’d like to mention a few areas where we could use additional help.  You might be just the person God is lifting up for the challenge!

Our rummage sale is coming up, and we have had a record number of donations this year.  Our Fellowship Center is stuffed with items which will go on sale May 5 & 6.  We could use some extra help organizing and pricing items, and then cleaning up.  Would you like to be involved in this?  Talk to me.

We could use some additional ushers and greeters to welcome visitors and guests as they arrive on Sunday morning.  We’ve had many new people check out or church in recent weeks, and we want everyone who walks through our door to be well cared for.  Are you friendly and personable?  Talk to me.

In addition, we have our usual events just around the corner:  Our summer Musical, our Block Party, our Worship Service at Collett Park.  The people who help with these things are very committed, but could it be that God is calling you to lend a hand?  If so, talk to me.

Is there a ministry, or a need, that God has placed on your heart?  Somewhere you feel called to give time and energy?  Is there a service or a talent you have to share?  Talk to me.

Easter is over, but the story isn’t.  It continues now in you and me.  Christ has risen, and by his power we are rising to the occasion.

In God’s Peace;

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