Pass the Lotion

This morning is a dreary, cool start to the day. It's overcast and there has been a constant drizzle in the air. For a cold weather type guy, it's pretty depressing outside. Even with the dampness going on right now, the past week or so has been very dry-- and oscillating between cold and warm temperatures. Last weekend was outright cold; yesterday set records for warmth in November. I noticed this morning that the constant change and mostly dry conditions have caused my hands to be very dry.

So I walked around the church, looking for some lotion.

I started in the office. Nothing. Kitchen. Nope. The women's bathrooms (I knocked first, even though the building is closed). Nada. This was surprising. I went to the nursery; no lotion. Last chance idea: the custodial closet. No lotion again. I found anti-bacterial gel everywhere. And lots of squirt soaps. But no lotion anywhere. What does that mean-- aside from needing to stock up at Sam's?

Last Sunday night was incredible here at the church. Our annual children's Fall Festival was a huge success. The halls were packed solid with kids and parents. Most were dressed in costumes, including many clowns (I tried to avoid them as much as possible). They played games, walked the cake walk, face painting, bounce housing, hot dog eating. It was non stop activity. Janet Hayes guessed we more than doubled the amount of non-church folk here from previous years. She, and every child, youth, and adult who helped, made it a very special night for our community. Thank you.

I don't know if we'll see any of those families on Sunday (one of them was the dad I chatted with at Dillingham, if you remember last Friday's video message).

But what we hope is that somehow through the makeup and heat and candy and fun every person somehow glanced at Christ. In a world full of abrasiveness-- anti-bacterial stuff and harsh soaps-- folk need a little soothing lotion. It brings to mind the words of an old Afro-American spiritual, one of my favorites:

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.

A couple of days after Trunk or Treat, on Halloween night, a few families from the church went trick or treating together. It was a perfect night: cool, mostly full moon, clear. About a dozen of us walked around the neighborhood. There were almost no kids out. A few days earlier, our building could not hold everyone. I don't know why that is, but it says something to me about the purpose of the church. Even if there is no lotion to be found in the building, the church can be a healing agent in a world of brokenness. 

If you are the one in need, know that the healing and restoration God promises is for everyone who believes in the midst of suffering. The spiritual begins: "Sometimes I feel discouraged, and think my work's in vain. But then the Holy Spirit revives my soul again." As those who have experienced God's healing: may we be the balm in Gilead to those who are hurting. The spiritual sings, "If you can't preach like Peter, if you can't pray like Paul, just tell the love of Jesus, and say he died for all." 

There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul.