Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Looking Out'- A Maundy Thursday Message

We had a terrible tragedy in Birmingham recently where a giant, free-standing flight information sign at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport fell onto a woman and her children- killing one 10 year old boy and severely injuring the others.

There is nothing anyone can do to take away that loss and the grief of such an event. And the impact is far reaching and inexplicable.

But there was a simple act of mercy yesterday in the aftermath of such darkness that added a sliver of light and a seed of healing.

The Bresettes' special visitors pose with Sam (in chair) during their visit. Source: Comilia WilliamsThe Bresettes' special visitors pose with Sam (in chair) during their visit. Source: Comilia Williams

Marcell Dareus (L) holds Tyler Bresette during the visit. Source: Comilia WilliamsMarcell Dareus (L) holds Tyler Bresette during the visit. Source: Comilia Williams

Some former Tide players helped cheer up a family dealing with a heartbreaking tragedy.
Luke Bresette was killed last week when a flight status board fell on top of him, his two brothers and his mother. His mother, Heather, is in fair condition at UAB Wednesday night. Sam Bresette, 8, was discharged from Children's Tuesday and Tyler Bresette, 5, was released from Children's Sunday.
To help cheer up the siblings and give the family a distraction from their pain, a group of Tide players made a special visit last Sunday. Marcell Dareus, Jerrell Harris, Marquis Maze and Antonio Langham chatted with the family, signed 8-year-old Sam's leg cast and posed for pictures.
"Just looking at the kids' faces, looking at the tragic incident [they were] still in good spirits. [I] felt overwhelmed being around them," Dareus said.
Comelia Williams is Dareus' personal assistant and arranged for the players to visit.
"My heart just went out to them. I tried to just keep myself together," she said.
Williams said the family was happy and appreciative for the support of the players.
Langham let Sam wear his championship ring and those present said Sam enjoyed that. The players also gave Sam an autographed Alabama picture, hat and football.
Talk about being worthy of a big "Roll Tide"...
There is a connection of this and an important ministry message going on at the University of Alabama. I credit Dr. Kevin Elko, for instilling a very important attribute among the Crimson Tide community. There are many schools around the country who employ chaplains and 'character coaches'- and you cannot credit Dr. Elko alone in this work- indeed Comelia Williams effort to organize the visits is to be deeply commended.
Dr. Kevin Elko
But if you listen to Dr. Elko's message- like I do frequently on Monday mornings subscribing to his Monday Cup of Inspiration- you hear a gospel awareness that turns outward; responding to God's goodness by serving others.
It is an important part of the gospel that we tend to miss- being filled up so that we can fill others.
When we first respond to God's grace, it is expected and understandable to turn inward. We see ourselves as God sees us and we begin to experience the joy of being filled and ministered to.
But an interesting thing happens along the way.
If we stay turned in- things become stale. Grace is like manna- it is good to be used daily for our needs, but cannot be stored without spoilage.
To whom much is given, much is required. In other words- we cannot keep it all for ourselves. As soon as we are filled, we need to turn outward and live lives that minister, free, lift up, soothe and heal others.
Have you ever battled depression as a believer in Jesus? A fast route out is to serve someone else.
That is what is so cool about being a follower of Jesus. The best way to receive an energy explosion from God's Spirit is to become employed in His service. I have personally experienced this on mission trips- there is almost a 'high' you feel by reaching out to others.
When Jesus was talking to the woman at the well- this idea is emphasized- John 4:
Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.
So many college football players live lives where they are served and glorified. One of the smartest things a spiritual mentor can do is to charge them to live unselfishly, joining others and committing to service. It becomes liberating- it becomes life changing- and it is a key component to living as a champion- giving yourself to a cause bigger than yourself.

AND that is the idea of 'MAUNDY THURSDAY"- Maundy (mandate)- the command to 'love one another'- and the example of Christ's love... He gave it ALL for us.

He humbled Himself- He washed feet- He gave his body and blood- and when He says, "Do this in remembrance of Me " could He be implying more than just a meal...but a lifestyle built on giving rather than consuming?

Can you imagine the transformative power if God's children... so full of grace and so satisfied in Jesus.. loved one another with passion and that love spilled out to loving even the 'least of these'?

It is happening all the time- that is why there are orphanages, hospitals, shelters, clinics, well diggers, and medical missionaries in some of the most destitute places on the planet.

And I am sorry if this hurts..... but these bear the name of Christ, these places lift a rugged cross- very few (if any) of these missions of mercy have been inaugurated in the name of atheism.

When we reach out this way... it doesn't explain the 'why' of a fallen sign- but it does point to a 'WHO' to cling to when it does fall.

There will always be a need to turn in- that is a part of what Sunday Worship is about.

But as soon as we are refreshed- the very best thing to do is 'turn out'.


I heard a speaker one time paint a mental picture of hell.

He said think of a dark room and a table where starving men are sitting around a large table. They are chained to the chair and long wooden spoons are fastened to their hands. A large bowl of tasty porridge is in the middle of that table. Sadly, the spoons are too long- they reach the bowl- but no matter how hard they try, the men cannot bring the spoons to their mouths to eat.

Then he said... here is heaven.

Same room, same bowl, same spoons- but the huge difference is that the men use the long handles to feed one another.

On this day before Jesus went to the cross..... may we find the initiative and joy of going to one another ... in love..... in humility.... in service.

That is an Easter resurrection waiting to happen!

No comments: