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Showing up
October 10, 2011
by Pastor Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

There once was a young pastor who was conducting a worship service in a nursing home. It was his first time with them.

He was anxious. They were curious. He hoped they liked to sing, and so busied himself with making sure they all had hymnals. Everyone took one, except one elderly woman in a wheelchair.

“Wouldn’t you like to have a hymnal?” the young pastor asked. “No,” was her reply.

“We’re going to sing some hymns,” he explained. “I don’t sing,” she replied.

“Well, perhaps you would like to follow along,” he suggested. “Nope. Bad eyes, can’t see to read anymore,” she announced.

The pastor couldn’t help himself: “Then why do you bother to come to worship?” he asked, with a bit of frustration in his voice.

With a faint smile, she motioned him closer to her. As he bent over, she took his hand and said, “Just to show how I’m votin’.”

We often associate votes with state and national elections, committee meetings, ballots, pulled levers, and voting machines. However, isn’t the most important vote that any of us make, the one we make with our lives?

Through the prophet Micah, God has told us what God desires of us: “but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with God.”

Do we “show up” when mercy and compassion are essential? Do we show up when integrity in the workplace is needed? Do we show up for the hungry and the homeless? Do we speak out against the evils of bullying, racism, and self-righteousness? Are we willing to show up, perhaps when few others do, for peace, honesty and justice?

When Jesus says, “Take up your cross and follow me,” do we “show up?” Can we smile and also be challenged by the little old lady who showed up just to tell how she was votin’?

May God bless the votes that we cast with our lives.