At a birthday function recently I likened playing tennis to being part of a faith community – both rely heavily upon people who can serve. I know, terrible joke. But it makes the point.
One aspect of congregational ministry that always inspires me, is the willingness of people to give their time, their skills and their energy to what we call ‘service’. It’s an old fashioned word that used to embody things like duty and responsibility and commitment. But at its heart lies the idea of doing something for somebody else. Congregations are full of people who do something for somebody else.
Some people have titles for what they do, and are appointed to them; like Elder, or Steward, or Member of Council, or Treasurer etc. So much of what they do takes place behind the scenes – unseen by most. This Sunday, during our time of gathering, we will recognise and honour these particular expressions of service to the faith community. But they are not alone in their willingness to serve.
Think about it for a moment:
- Who manages all the bookings of the building and liaises with the choirs, AA groups etc?
- Who does the rostering for who’s on the door this week, or making coffee or bringing flowers?
- Who looks after the cleaning?
- Who organises the musicians for Sunday?
- Who puts the bulletin together each week?
- Who brings the bread for Communion?
And then, there are those people who are actually willing to serve in those capacities. The flute players, violinist, trumpet player and pianists. The coffee makers and cake bakers. Then again, there are those who are so much more ‘invisible’- the people who make that caring phone call that no one else knows about, or the people who invite someone over for coffee or a walk in the park or……Finding ways of serving and supporting the faith community or the wider community is limited only by our imagination, or opportunity. But I also know that sometimes even the smallest expression of service can feel like a burden if there is no one else willing to take it on or just provide some respite, or recognise its worth.
So let us give thanks for those who are willing to do something for somebody else – it’s what makes the world a kinder place.