We recently become friends with a young woman who is a server at our favorite breakfast spot. She is a mother of three young sons. Last week, she could hardy wait to tell us about her good news. Recently, her oldest son’s teacher had called her and said she needed to speak to her about her son. When she received the call, she was immediately worried that he had done something that was bad. However, the teacher wanted her to know how proud she was of him as he had volunteered—without being asked—to help another student who was having trouble with his homework.
The response of the young mother was to provide an Ice Cream Sunday bar for all three sons to celebrate. She was so very happy and wanted her children to know how proud she was and what that act of kindness meant. Her perspective was that it was more important to reward good behavior than to punish poor behavior.
Her story immediately made me think of how some people think about our faith. As we attend church and practice our religion, it is possible to focus on the negative and only see rules that translate into “good Christians DON’T”—or, we think of any transgression in terms of punishment rather than a learning opportunity.
As we enter the season of Easter, we need to understand and demonstrate to others how much we can celebrate the joy we have when we engage in those acts of kindness that are an integral part of our understanding of community. As one theologian put it, “I am more interested in what you have been saved for than what you have been saved from!”
Rev. Dr. Fred Leasure, Parish Associate