Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Sometimes life occurs amidst the plans we make.

A clergy colleague and I were walking the campus of the church they served, picking up cardboard and other items along the way, when we noticed what simply appeared to be two larger pieces of cardboard on the ground.

What we found was so much more.

A child of God, with the hood of his sweatshirt pulled tight to cover his face, had been laying between the pieces of cardboard all night. It was his only shelter.

In the midst of collecting items which had been scattered around the church property, God spoke into the lives of my colleague and I in a startling manner.

I have wondered since that day how often this child of God had been unseen, or as simply one more “item” on the ground.

Our brother Francis offers the following:

“We should never desire to be above others, but ought rather to be servants and subject “to every human creature for God’s sake.” And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon all those who do these things and who shall persevere to the end, and He shall make His abode and dwelling in them, and they shall be children of the heavenly Father, whose works they do, and they are the spouses, brothers and mothers of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are spouses when by the Holy God the faithful soul is united to Jesus Christ. We are His brothers when we do the will of His Father who is in heaven. We are His mothers when we bear Him in our heart and in our body through pure love and a clean conscience and we bring Him forth by holy work which ought to shine as an example to others.” —Francis of Assisi — Selections from the Writings of St. Francis of Assisi

In the midst of the difficult work of ministry, and during this holy (and hectic) season of Lent, we can become so focused on the work in front of us that we miss God speaking into our lives through holy interruptions in our plans.

What children of God go unseen?

I’m thankful, more than thankful, for the faithfulness of all of you in the challenging work of seeking to see all of God’s children…our sisters and brothers.

Your good and faith-filled “holy work” as servants of God is making a difference, and “shine(s) as an example to others.”

Be encouraged by this truth: You are not alone on this journey. As we seek to expand the circle of grace in which we have been included, remember that God is “dwelling” in you, and the grace of God is working through you to welcome each and every child of God into a community of hope.

Neil Leftwich Signature

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