FIRST-PERSON: The umbrella of grace

CHURCH HILL, Tenn. (BP) -- Who knew that the umbrella, made to protect from rainy day elements, could lavish such care and bring forth unforeseen fellowship?

What a delight to watch from my son's Sunday School room window and see church members unexpectedly being met at their vehicles with a smile and an umbrella.

Our church's family pastor joined in the rainy day ministry, decked out in suit and tie and umbrella in hand. I marveled at the simplicity of a moment when separate lives connected through this simple act of kindness, when unknowing church members stepped out of their cars and were met face to face by these servants of Christ.

The men's faces under those umbrellas blurred as my mind drifted to Scripture and I saw Jesus in the frame of that window.

"...so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples' feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him" (John 13:4-5).

Early Christian history was now being seen in modern-day servanthood. As the master of the universe knelt at the feet of His followers, He exemplified the meaning of service.

Watching these gentlemen scurry from car to car delighted my soul as I imagined the conversations under the umbrellas. Although I couldn't hear, their grins and body language spoke volumes.

The rain kept coming, yet I noticed how families lingered a bit longer in the elements. They seemed to not think about their jackets getting a bit too soaked for comfort, or their shoes becoming more damp than they cared for them to be.

Instead of allowing the weather to be a nuisance, God had used the simple tool of the umbrella to replicate a shelter of grace, fellowship and love.

We come to Christ not because of what we what we have to offer but because of the magnitude -- the umbrella -- of His grace. He has freely given so we can gladly serve, one rainy day to the next.

Laura Hurd, online at reallifemomsblog.wordpress.com, is a member of Ridgeview Baptist Church in Church Hill, Tenn.
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