Thursday, March 14, 2013

A 'Love Does' Story

   “Mrs. Taylor” made it to the glass double-doors of Peachtree Mall, but was having a difficult time getting them opened. She was already a little tired and more than a little confused about where she was going. Within just a moment, the exterior doors were opened and a woman a few years younger ushered her in. Sensing the need to tarry for a moment to help, this new face introduced herself. Mrs. Taylor pulled a crumpled receipt out of her purse that showed she was going to a jewelry store to pick up her wedding band after having it re-sized. She did not remember where the store was located, so together they found a mall security guard, figured out where to go, and starting walking to retrieve the ring. Despite not knowing each other, the conversation between these two was pleasant. Once they got to the store, the younger woman offered to move her car around to the nearest mall entrance so she could help Mrs. Taylor get back to her own car with less walking. Once she was gone, the lady behind the counter asked who was helping Mrs. Taylor. She said that, while she did not know her, it must be an angel. When this angel returned and it was time to depart, she helped her to her car and bid her goodbye. 
Interlude: Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 describes the kindness of a stranger who took the time to offer aid. It was simple, yet it was also shocking to many in the first audiences to hear it because of the origins of this earthly angel who helped. Jesus closes the story with the question, “Who was the neighbor to this man?” This question still rings for us? Being a good neighbor is about showing the love of God to those in need. It is about forgiveness, compassion, effort, reconciliation and service. I do not believe that love can stop at a mere acknowledgment of these traits in our minds or even in our hearts. We must love with our hands. Love does.

   The episode at the mall lasted less than an hour, but it made an impact. When Mrs. Taylor got home, she called her daughter and told her the whole story. The daughter, now living with the the fears and challenges of her mother’s recent diagnosis of dementia, was so relieved that she was home safe and that the ring symbolizing her parent’s love had not been lost. When she learned from her mom the name of the angel who had helped her, she immediately called her close friend and retold the story. That friend told me and I have now told you. 

   The angel was Jean Morris. 
   Love does. Knowledge, good intentions or inspiring speech have no form in this world without the actions that give them shape. Epworth is a place where love takes shape. Peace to you, Scott

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