You Never Know part two
By Mikal J. Shedd of Independence, MO, USA
Finally, brothers and sisters, farewell. Put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. —2 Corinthians 13:11 NRSV
Many members of congregations located near military air bases are transient. You spend a few years becoming close to a family; then they are gone as suddenly as they came. A congregation could become either callous toward newcomers or learn better ways to welcome them. The Bellevue Congregation learned better ways.
One way was to befriend new families. Some retired couples worked to help new families find their way around their new city and became unofficial grandparents to their children, working to smooth the newcomers’ transition to our congregation and community. They invited the new family to dinner, even babysat if needed. All benefited from time spent together.
One was a young family with two children. The husband led our choir; the wife led our vacation church school. The children touched the hearts of all. When they transferred, we deeply missed them.
Another young couple—she came regularly, but alone. Though she was shy, her befriending family encouraged her and helped her blossom. The husbands, despite their age differences, had much in common, doing projects together outside church. The young couple transferred just as the husband began attending. Not long after, he was baptized, eventually becoming pastor of their new congregation. He credited our little congregation with his transformation.
A third couple attended for just a short time. Not long after arriving, he shipped out on temporary duty where he died in a helicopter crash. The congregation held a memorial service for him and supported his wife through her difficult transition. She thanked the congregation by presenting the church with a large church seal for outside the building.
A little welcoming and caring, becoming strong sisters and brothers in Christ, is all it takes to transform our congregations, our community, our world.
Prayer for Peace
God of love and peace, may we learn new ways to be disciples of hospitality. May we remember that hospitality shared with one means your peace will grow and be shared with many.
Spiritual Practice: Experience Congregations in Mission
Read and reflect on Doctrine and Covenants 164:9a–d. Reread the sentence, “If you truly would be Community of Christ, then embody and live the concerns and passion of Christ.” Make a list of the issues you feel mattered most to Christ. Make another list of issues that matter to your congregation. Reflect on the likenesses and differences. How can you help align the lists? Throughout the day, as issues arise, ask yourself, “Would this matter to Christ?”
Today, God, I will spread your peace from family to congregation to world.