Mission Monday

Yesterday’s annual “Mission Sunday” morning worship was a memorable experience.

Our gathering at the Lord’s table was prefaced by a reading I had written as our weekly e-mail/bulletin article “HeartWorship” that prepares our members for worship:

The feet anointed for burial by a sinful woman had walked many miles, and into many places of worship.

The feet nailed to a cross had walked through Samaria to bring good news of worship in spirit and truth to another sinful woman whose concept of worship was tied to a mountain.

The nail-scarred feet His followers clung to as they worshipped Him had returned so He could remind them of His example of mission and worship. He came back to commission them to do as he had done, and — before those feet were lifted from among them one last time — to promise He would still be walking with them in Spirit.

For the beautiful feet of His followers bear a message of salvation and praise that is one and the same, just as prophesied many hundreds of years ago:

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” — Isaiah 52:7

It was followed by the contemporary communion hymn, “How Beautiful.”

A guest speaker, who has served in several mission outreaches in South America, told powerful stories of native Americans there begging to buy his Bible … of a family who had given up their house as a place of worship, sleeping on mattresses in the garden shed … of new converts glad to be threatened by Communist insurgents not to harvest their crops, because it meant they could preach full-time.

One of the bellwether (bellewe?) members of our flock – a dear lady who, along with her husband, have actively supported mission outreach there for years – responded on behalf of all of us that she sought prayers to become “more mission-minded … more evangelistic … more like Jesus.”

A plaque was presented to the church from an independent missions training organization for our full-time support of 13 missionary families.

Our annual special missions collection that morning yielded more than $50,000.

But nothing that happened yesterday moved me as profoundly as seeing the two lidded plastic cups that happened to be on the floor of the parking garage next to my space this morning.

I recognized them, you see. They were the cups of plain milk and strawberry milk that I had prepared for my children before taking them to school last Thursday. They had been too busy chattering to drink the entire contents before we arrived.

So I had thrown the half-full cups away in a trash barrel on the way in to work, not wanting the souring milk to smell up my car after a hot day in the garage.

Sometime over the weekend while the garage was closed, someone had removed them from the trash. Someone had emptied them of their contents, leaving the lids on the cups and the straws still in the lids – a green one for Matthew and his strawberry milk; a purple one for Laura and her plain – and left them standing upright, by chance, next to the space where I usually park.

By chance?

The hungering and thirsting aren’t just starved for righteousness, and they’re not just in far-flung places around the globe, I’ve discovered.

Sometimes they hang out where I park.

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