One Small Thing
Updated: Dec 24, 2020
It's that time of year when we look back over the last year. I'm sure you've seen all the jokes about seeing the year out and making sure it actually goes...... and I'm trying not to use all those words and phrases that have come to the fore during the year - 'Unprecedented' being one of them (And now look, I've just typed it!)
I think reviewing the year and what we have done with it will have many mixed emotions. Amongst those emotions here will be feelings of guilt, anxiety, feeling useless, 'could have done more' etc. I know I've heard lots of people say they don't think they've 'done' anything significant in 2020.
I'm going to challenge that! If you're my age or older and been a church goer, you may remember the song "An Army Of Ordinary People". In this last year, this is what the Church has been. When you put together all the small things people have done during the year - its impact has been massive, so be encouraged. I know it has been those random small things that have encouraged me so much since March. (I've been shielding since before the first lock down and continued to do so).
There's a prayer activity I do with children using those fun snaps that explode on the floor when you throw them. When we throw them individually and separately they make a small noise. When we all throw them together they make a huge noise! 10 individual children throwing that small thing simultaneously makes a big explosion. We pray that we can all do our part in our small way - we remember that what they do is not insignificant, it is important and it is worship in it's highest form when we do it to make God smile.
For most of the Church in this land, it is the culmination of many, many people who have done 'just one thing' that has made the difference this year needed: a can of something in the food bank bin, a cake delivered to someone who is shielding alone, a text or a phone call to a family who is struggling. Nodding a greeting and saying hello to a stranger, thanking the person on the till or the delivery person.
It all adds up.
Those pastors who have struggled with the technology to prerecord a telephone sermon for a congregation who can't 'do' computers - that one thing has meant a lot. Those churches for whom the all singing all 'dancing' live stream was impossible - the letters, calls, conversations from the gate to door were just what was needed - as you peek at social media what you have done may feel pathetic to you, but to your congregation, your children's groups, your youth, it has been the world. You have done one thing - you have been community.
Personally, I am grateful for the 'one thing' people. You have encouraged, supported, loved and been a lifeline. I've appreciated messages, a Christmas plant, rare conversations in the front garden. Someone remembering I'm lactose intolerant when giving out gift bags of chocolate. Someone I didn't know donating lactose free milk when I couldn't find any in the shops (via my big brother). Lots of little things that have meant the world. I've also loved gathering every two weeks with my Additional Needs Alliance colleagues - to chat, laugh, pray and be prayed for.
For those of you looking back on the last year and judging yourselves on what you think you haven't done - here's a couple of things to remember as you look back:
You are not what you have done, you are not what you haven't done. God's love is not conditional on those things - it is a gift. You are Loved!
To the world you may be one person (who's done 'one thing'). But to one person you may be the world.