Every Fifth Sunday of Every Year our church holds a service at a Nursing Home in Joplin.
We usually have quite the crowd (though nothing can beat the crowd we had the week after the Joplin tornado).
Our attendees are folks who have found themselves in the deepest winter of their lives.
Before their bodies started to fail they all were all manners of things.
Secret Service Agents (true story).
In their "other" lives they might have never passed through each other's circles. But here they mingle over Bingo games, Watercolor classes and Ice Cream socials.
The church service every week is always performed by a volunteer church. They are not divided by denominations.
Our service focuses heavily on the music. The song book we bring to share at the Nursing home is filled with the old camp meeting songs that were part of my childhood.
I'll Fly Away
Victory in Jesus.
Count Your Blessings.
A few months ago, I was seated behind an amplifier singing harmony to "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb" (natives in this part of Missouri pronounce it 'warshed). I looked out to the crowd. There were several who clutched their song books singing enthusiastically. They had showed up to church with fluffed hair and clean blouses.
There were those who just smiled and nodded their heads to the music.
And there were those whose just stared vacantly at the ceiling. They had been brought in by aids...You could see that age and disease had taken its toll.
One dear lady grabbed my attention. She was staring up in the ceiling with such sweet smile on her face.
What was she thinking?
Was she remembering days gone by?
Was the message of the song one that she clung too?
Was it just the music that was appealing to her?
That smile spoke a thousand words.
This morning while I was up and about running errands I thought about my day to day interactions with people.
The grocery store clerk with the worried brow.
The lady at Wal-mart who was conducting a conversation on her cell phone no one should have to hear (including the person on the other end).
That driver who was impatient with me for driving the speed limit.
It doesn't have to be an old sacred song that gets the message across.
I have to do it through kind words, a ready smile and patience...lots of patience.
I don't know the stories of those I encounter. Some of those stories are written in chaos, brokenness and pain.
I hope my song is a sweet and filled with hope.