Building the Perfect Man, by Rev. Denise Bender

Rev. Denise BenderDenise-smiling-crop

It’s a quiet Sunday afternoon, like many I experience. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the family dog lies at my feet under my desk… pretty typical. I reflect on what makes Sunday afternoons so quiet for me – and for many who experience the customary Sunday morning flurry of activity at local churches. I realize that it is the flurry of not only Sunday mornings, but the gathering of last-minute supplies, ideas, and phone calls leading up to a Sunday morning – which, by the way, happens every seven days! – that requires a time of Sabbath.

For those of us who are in leadership in our local church, we are prepared to give all we have during those hours on Sundays, because that is what we do, that is where we belong, that is our call. This call into busyness is not a call targeting only those in professional ministry, but for all those whose hearts are tugged at to be part of sharing the gospel message of grace and love. The quiet and glow of a job well done can lead us into Sabbath when Sunday morning Sabbath time is hard to recognize. “Be still and know that I am God,” can happen at any point of the week, but it is vital for our own spiritual growth that we find time to intentionally be aware of the presence of God.

This morning my two churches were particularly low in attendance – some kind of summer phenomenon – but there were children who still sought a meaningful way to learn about God. At one of my churches the theme was “Men in the Bible.” So, how do I teach two children about men in the Bible? I don’t; they teach themselves.

I asked them, “Who are some men in the Bible?” and “Why was their story there?” and “What is a perfect man?” They gave the typical answers of “Adam, Jesus, Paul, Matthew, Luke.” Describing a perfect man was a little more difficult. But their answers included: kind, patient, funny, courageous, smart and so on. I was quite impressed that they did not describe any physical attributes.

Then they were tasked to make a perfect man in half an hour out of recycled objects: milk jugs, water bottles, containers and pipe cleaners, with no glue or tape. They pondered and discussed and came up with a plan. Their excitement grew as they saw their man coming together. Their finished man was quite innovative and… well, perfect!two girls show the "perfect man" they have built from recycled objects

So, I breathe in deeply the grace I find in the children to which I minister and I reflect and smile. That’s what being in leadership in the church is all about.

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