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Day 5:  give thanks for 3 things returned.

Today has really been a day of blessing for me.  All of my encounters today have involved people returning to me grace, hospitality and affirmation.  God has been gracious.

My day began with a worship service at a nursing home.  Following the service there was time to have coffee with the residents before I had to leave for the next nursing home.  One of the spouses fetched me coffee when she brought some for her husband and we enjoyed a great chat.  It felt good to have someone take care of me and give me something, even something as simple as a cup of coffee.  It really is true that the little things done with love are what makes a difference in the world.

Then I went to the second nursing home.  It is an entirely different situation there, and often chaotic.  They don’t have an organist who comes to play for them, so the staff, in between bringing the residents to worship, searches through the stack of CD’s to find the ones with the hymns that I have chosen.  The discs are supposed to match up to the hymns in the hymbook the residents use, but often the hymn title and what the hymn is called on the disc, just don’t jive.  What I love about that situation is the genuine love and respect the residents have for the poor staff person who struggles to find the correct hymns for us.  They tease her, they poke fun at her and the joy and laughter just fill the room.  This weekend in Canada is Thanksgiving, and so today I preached on Thanksgiving themes and the residents really got into it with overwhelming thanks for me and my words, and the for  staff person for her struggle with the CD’s.  I enjoyed being able to give to this community and receive their love in return.  What a blessing–full of laughter and genuine worship.

google imagesThis afternoon I visited with a couple who have recently started worshiping with the congregation.  When I arrived the coffee table was full…. a carrot cake, a black forest cake, and a pizza, all of them homemade just this morning.  What a delight that someone would return love to me in that way.  What a disappointment not to be able to eat any of it because all of it had gluten in it.  But I appreciate it more than anyone can know.  As we talked today the couple mentioned how they appreciated how I made them feel warm and welcome at worship, well they returned that gift as the effort to prepare for my visit showed the depth of their warmth and welcome to me.

All in all, I have to say today I know that I am richly blessed.