My role at Gallatin CARES Worship Center is very humbling. I am program coordinator for Spiritual Formation. Basically, I plan and create opportunities for the "members" of our mission congregation to receive spiritual care, love and learning. I also invite others into the doors of our "church" to give back and in turn receive as well. I get to love on God's people and sweep floors too. My job might be to help others but each and every day at CARES is a lesson for me and an opportunity to see God at work. God shows up.
It humbles me to go to work every single time I unlock the doors. God never ceases to amaze me. I've been told I'm fortunate to have such a great place to give back. But, as I think about it, it seems God is giving to me much more than I could ever give to the Creator's people. And, I am figuring out God has to make things really obvious for me. God gives me BIG examples at Gallatin CARES to remind me of God's activity and that makes me never want to miss a moment of our Creator's amazing presence in that place. God shows up at CARES and I'm not the only one who has noticed it. This was told to me early on by a friend who used to attend a large congregation down the road from our little mission church but now regularly attends CARES Worship. When I asked him if he attended both churches, he replied no and confidently explained. He said, "I"m certain that when Jesus returns, he'll come to Gallatin CARES before he would visit my previous congregation and so this (CARES) is where I want to be too."
Jesus may not have physically walked through the doors just yet, but God shows up every time those doors are open! There was the time that Jane, our pastor, and I were arranging chairs on a Tuesday afternoon. We had two very long pews and a bunch of mis-matched chairs to seat our congregants. They worked just fine, but we couldn't get the sanctuary seats turned the way we wanted and just threw our hands up and said we'd try another day. We left frustrated. The VERY NEXT morning, we received a tap on the door. The stranger asked if we could come to his church and pick up about 15 or 20 pews and use them in our church. His church was moving and they had tried to sell them, but no one was responding. He looked through the windows after driving by and saw our chairs. He wanted to GIVE us his church's pews! Needless to say, we picked up the pews and they look like they were made to fit our little church! God shows up at Gallatin CARES.
Then, there was the day just a few weeks ago that I was humbly reminded to keep my focus before the day barely began. I arrived that morning and when I looked down, I had on my black canvas tennis shoes. Oops! I was wearing blue and was supposed to have slipped on my blue canvas tennis shoes. My TOMS are my favorite "go to" slip-on shoe and I own pairs in a few colors. They aren't the most supportive, but they are comfortable, and they also give back so I love the concept of the company. I momentarily got frustrated with myself about wearing the wrong color shoes but went on about my day. Within an hour, one of my friends from church walked in. He lives a couple of miles away and doesn't have a car. He walks to work, to the grocery, to church. He is in recovery - physically, mentally, and spiritually. My friend asked me for a PAIR OF SHOES. Turns out he has only one pair of tennis shoes. All the walking he does around town had worn his out and he just wanted a "new to him" but used pair of shoes. We walked across the street together to the Gallatin CARES Thrift Store to find a pair of shoes for my friend (he didn't even care what color they were). I wore my perfectly fine pair of shoes (that didn't match my outfit) as I walked alongside my friend. There aren't really words for that walk but it was indeed a humbling moment.
God is showing up my friends, God is showing up. Have you seen God? Is the Creator in your neighbor's shoes? Where can you look for God today?
Whitney R. Simpson
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Whitney R. Simpson
Exploring Peace Ministries, LLC