Several years ago I came across a question from Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her ministry among the poorest of the poor in Calcutta, India.
Mother Teresa asked her question in response to the complaints of one of her fellow sisters. The sister had missed a train and was visibly upset. She complained that all of her plans were ruined.
In response to the sister’s complaints, Mother Teresa asked a simple question: “What is the gift here?”
Instead of wallowing in self-pity…. Instead of blaming God…. Mother Teresa asked the sister to think about her situation more deeply. “What is the gift here?” Might missing a train provide an opportunity to meet someone new? Give leisure to read? Offer unexpected time to pray? “What is the gift here?”
Mother Teresa’s question is a good one for us today. As we emerge from this unwanted season of COVID, Pastor Laura and I will spend a few weeks reflecting on some of the unexpected gifts we received this last year. I believe that as we reflect, we will recognize beautiful, surprising gifts that we can treasure.
The Apostle Paul helps me recognize and treasure one particular gift. In 1 Corinthians 12 Paul uses the image of a human body composed of various parts: hands, feet, nose, toes. Paul reminds us that each and every part of the body is important. Likewise, in Christ, each and every person matters.
This week I invite us to reflect on where we have recognized that deep spiritual truth this last year. I pray we might treasure that gift.
A pastoral note: This coming Monday is Memorial Day – a time to pause and remember those who have died in war. During worship on Sunday, we will have a time to lift the names of those we have known (a parent, a child, a cousin, a friend, a fellow soldier) who died in war. If you are in the sanctuary, you may want to lift a name aloud. If you are worshipping online, you may want to type a name into Facebook. This can be deeply emotional for many people. I want you to be prepared, because saying or writing a name can also be truly holy.