A Call to Shine

Second Chance was one of those rare movies with a blatant Christian message that featured great acting and a believable story that could be taken from the twitter feed today. The storyline follows the paths of two pastors — one in a megachurch, and the other in a poor, run-down church, and the crisis of faith that arises when the two meet and begin to interact. God has much to teach us about humility!

One specific scene from the movie showed one of the characters grabbing a basin, a towel, and a pitcher of water. He knelt and then began washing the feet of his adversary.

Jesus demonstrated humility and service when he knelt and washed his students’ feet. It’s a situation that seems a bit archaic to those of us who have closets full of shoes and daily showers:

Oh, but what a powerful visual of service, nonetheless!

After Hurricane Matthew struck our area, neighbors came outside to check on each other. My husband helped remove giant tree branches that were in danger of falling on a house. People pitched in and worked together. That’s what Americans do, isn’t it? In my lifetime, I’ve watched Americans pull through after several hurricanes (Alicia, and then Francis/Katrina/Irene/Charley in 2004), after 9-11, after the devastating tornadoes that struck Texas and Oklahoma, and after house fires. When I had a hysterectomy five years ago, friends worked together and signed up to bring my family meals. When my daughter was born premature and we were in a new state and a new neighborhood and had not even had a chance to go to church yet, a stranger brought us a meal when she found out our predicament. When my husband broke his ankle, neighbors moved our trash cans for us and put the newspaper on our door step. The opportunities to serve others are as varied as there are people.

In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Phil 2:1-4)

Service to ‘the least of these’ is important to me because it is important to Jesus. Service is another reason I feel compelled to vote for Hillary Clinton. Like Clinton, my formative years as a Christian were spent in the Methodist church. Service was one of the actions we did to show love to the community. This mindset is behind all the crazy things I do — from taking on homeschool leadership roles to photographing service events to creating student memory books. So when Hillary Clinton added service to her issues list, I paid attention.

I believe that one of the jobs of President is to encourage more service, to help more Americans answer President Kennedy’s call. You know it: Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country.’

What if we created more service opportunities for Americans of all ages, invested in programs that work and encouraged entrepreneurs to add a social component to their businesses? What if we strengthened the culture of service in America so it wasn’t just something that we did one day a year, but it became a regular part of our lives? I think that would reflect our values and would tap into something so great about America.

-Hillary Clinton, Remarks September 30, 2012

One of her intriguing ideas is to establish a National Service Reserve which would operate similarly to the military’s National Reserve units. Unlike AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps, which are full-time positions, the National Service Reserve would be part-time and local.

And here’s the idea. If you join the National Service Reserve, you will receive some basic training, just like you would in the military reserves, and then when your city or state needs you, you’ll get the call. Say a natural disaster strikes and the Red Cross needs all hands on deck. Or maybe, like the crisis in Flint, and clean water has to be distributed every day to a lot of families. Or maybe your city launches a major public health campaign to reduce drug abuse or promote mental health. You will then be sent into action. Now some of these assignments maybe just be for a few days, a month, some might be longer term. But they will directly address a vital need in your own community.

-Hillary Clinton, Remarks September 30, 2012

I would personally be very interested in volunteering for such a service opportunity, and I’ll suspect many of my friends would, too.

 

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Epworth by the Sea

I’ll always remember experiencing the profound goodness and holiness of God I encountered in this tiny chapel on the grounds of Epworth by the Sea, a Methodist retreat center. At the time, I was a young mother struggling to figure out whether my faith was real or not. Was I really a Christian? Was I really a child of God? Through the service of the lovely women around me and the staff, God revealed himself in a way I’ve never since felt. As our group entered the outer room of the chapel, we all fell silent. A hush filled the chapel as we filed in, and one-by-one, each of us started to cry. My eyes were drawn to the stained glass windows and the altar. There was no pastor. There were no songs. Only prayer, and silent tears of gratitude and an awareness of the enormous love of our Father.

In light of this unsurpassable love of the Father, how can I not serve? How can’t we all? I’m aware that Clinton’s call to service is not just for Christians, but for all people in America. A program like the one she is proposing would give Christians another avenue in which to serve.

That’s why ‘Stronger Together’ is more than just a slogan. It’s a course of action. So here’s what I want to do. I want you to hear me pledge that this will be a vital aspect of my presidency. And I want you to help me bring our nation together – to solve our problems, strengthen our communities. To join with people across America who care about service, because this speaks to both what is great and good about the United States. America is great because we are good.

-Hillary Clinton, Remarks September 30, 2012

There is no law that prevents Christians from doing good, whether it’s serving on a mission trip or in a national service organization or an informal group of neighbors and friends.

Now go out there and let your light shine!

 

 

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