Volunteers are precious. Our busy lives and COVID have made us wary of any commitment, particularly any not required by work or family. The past few days, thoughts of heroes, angels and volunteers have mixed together in my mind. Occasionally, we notice home-town heroes, “angels,” I call them, people for whom caring for others, “volunteering” is as natural as breathing.
As I write this, two people come to my mind immediately. Helen was a member of my congregation in Bethany; the other is a present day member of the church I attend now. To respect his privacy, I’ll call him “Charlie.”
Let me tell you first about Helen. Helen was a quiet senior. Oh, she had her opinions for sure, but mostly, she listened. Sunday mornings, she often brought in newspaper clippings to give to people, friends of all ages, on subjects she knew would interest them. Helen read voraciously, but always seemed to keep others at the top of her mind while she read. I understood those clippings as love offerings, reminding us that we were in her thoughts and prayers. Helen did many things that went unnoticed, actions of kindness and caring. She also took leadership when she felt she had something to offer. Helen was a constant support, keeping us all in prayer. For me, she had chosen to be one of God’s angels, and God willingly gave her wings.
Kindness comes to Charlie as naturally as breathing. If he knows you need something, he is there to do it. A young single woman in the congregation is struggling with cancer. Charlie helps – cutting grass, picking up groceries, fixing things, doing whatever is needed. Charlie volunteers all year at the Salvation Army early Friday mornings, serving breakfast. During the Christmas season, he works every morning on the toy drive. With many others, Charlie is an integral part of our Foodbank, lifting heavy boxes, taking and replenishing inventory every month. He’s active in the Lion’s Club. He always greets us with a smile, a joke or a little teasing. Charlie in my heart has chosen to be one of God’s angels. He has his wings.
In my home, there are angel knick-knacks everywhere, large, small, beautiful, sleek, sometimes chipped, every one of them a gift from someone. They remind me that there are human angels everywhere. Usually they are humble, quiet people who do God’s work unnoticed by many of us.
Richard Wagamese in his book, “One Story, One Song” says, “In the realm of the spiritual, we are all angelic, if we choose. It is, my people say, the choosing that grants us wings.” Wise words for all of us to consider.
Maybe we need to let go of words like heroes, and volunteers. God gives us all opportunities, every day, even amid our busy lives and the COVID pandemic. We can choose to accept God’s call. The wonder of the choice is that being one of God’s angels is like breathing. Like Charlie and Helen, once you choose to start, you discover you don’t want to stop, because you want to truly live. You’ve received your wings.
“Who is my neighbour…Love your neighbour as you love yourself.
Luke 10:25-37 The Good Samaritan
Today’s Faith by Rev Janet Stobie