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All Good Gifts…


He is the kind of friend that we all wish we had…and that maybe a few of us have been blessed to have at some point in life. Working patiently and persistently over the course of two years, he visited the hospital and bought groceries. He took out the trash and cleaned up the messes and would not be scared away regardless of the latest crisis. He listened to the anguish and pain of a terrible and incomplete recovery. Most recently, he marshaled the resources of other friends and families and a couple local congregations to make sure that the insurance stayed current and the house was still livable and a family remained as intact as it could be.

The motivation for this effort is not a deep and abiding faith. He doesn’t attend a church, and isn’t really sure that he believes. Neither is he looking to be recognized as some kind of local hero by the community. He has simply been there to care…to be a friend for a friend.

And in the process…he lives the Good News in a more profound way than a lot of folks who would consider themselves quite pious.

James reminds us: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” Not some gifts, but every gift. Not just gifts that we can easily label as Christian, but every gift. All good gifts…even when they come packaged in ways that aren’t demonstrably religious and are delivered by regular folks caring for their regular neighbors…are the outpouring of grace by a God who will not be constrained by our ideas of what is right and appropriate.

A reminder, dear Church: The One who comes to us…who comes among us to save us…seldom resembles our preconceived notions of a savior. But there, nonetheless, is God at work in the gifts of mercy, persistence and wholeness. There is God in the love and hard work of one willing to be a friend.


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