If you are in pastoral ministry very long, you recognize you are called to fill a variety of roles in a community. Prayers at: kindergarten graduations, the renaming of a street in honor of a beloved teacher, honor assemblies, memorial services, and one I will never forget— the “pregame prayer” at a college football game. That prayer went something like this: “God we prepare ourselves to do our best. We know you don’t care who wins (I could see the coach grimacing), but you do care about us (whew). Help us to bring our best to the field today…”. The coach came to me and said “thanks, you had me worried for a minute”. I said, “No worries, I don’t think God takes sides otherwise Norte Dame, BYU and the Raiders would never win a game”. He laughed and they won.
One of the great joys of my time at First Christian in Greeley is that I have become the Weld County Habitat for Humanity ‘official blesser’. They are an amazing organization who cranks out client owned housing at a speed that honors the “many hands make light work” axiom. We are currently working on our third Faith Build where 25 churches work together with a family to build a home. Thrivant Financial has put up $100,000 each time and the churches together match it. There is a ‘ground breaking’ and then about four months later, if all goes according to plan, a blessing. Every house whether it was a faith build or not has a house blessing. Today was a blessing for a single mom and her 15 year old son. Together they put in over 800 hours of sweat equity.
I was contacted last week about my willingness to do a reduced size, social distancing, mask wearing dedication. I could not wait for today. It was a moment I will never forget. Tears streamed under the masks and down checks. I read from Psalm 91 which begins “Those who dwell in the shelter of the Most High, who abide in the shadow of the All Mighty…” I listened to a mom and a son give a little speech, hers in Spanish and his in English, Gracias—Thank You are two words that need no translation. Our third faith build is on half of a duplex. The two people occupying each half are quadriplegic. We had a crew of six there last Saturday. We will be providing lunch for a team next week. The show must go on.
Today I saw the resilience of a people and a community. We will continue to give thanks “Because you have made The Lord your refuge, The Most High your habitation” vs 91:9. Yes, I miss my Lyft driving a lot. But today was a 120 mile ride worth making.
Onward and Upward,
2 thoughts on “Habitat”
Rev. Mark, I was just musing on the prognostications of those of us who knew you back in the day at Phillips University. Thinking to ourselves, how is this guy ever going to be a pastor and lead people in their spiritual path? I would say the workings of God are beyond the sight of normal men and we could not see what work He was doing in you. You have become a servant of God in so many ways, and the fulfilment of your plan has come to fruition or maybe it was God’s plan all along. Sometimes it is the most broken who become the strongest. May God continue to bless your ongoing and amazing ministry.
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This is a beautiful story for today. I’m sure you blessed them well!
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