It was another Spirit-filled night at At Jacob’s Well. David Drake was supposed to lead the service, but he was stuck in traffic with the Atkinsons behind him. While we waited, the group of residents assembled broke out in prayer and song. Edith, a resident, said she had a song that she wrote and could sing. It was amazing – beautifully sung and full of Jesus and his mighty presence in our lives. All cheered at the end. We recited Psalm 23 and I read Philippians 2: 1-11 the reading for my Community Party later that evening.
David and the others arrived and celebrated Eucharist including a message that tied in perfectly with the previous prayers. Members of Resurrection served dinner and visited with the residents. It was delicious and plentiful, as always. Everyone left, full of food and spirit, with provisions for the next day.
Editor’s note: Edie is being both modest and understated in her account. On the following Sunday, when she described what had happened that evening, she was absolutely lit from within. So it was clear something very special had taken place.
For those of you who may not be familiar with At Jacobs Well, every month a group from Res organizes a worship service and dinner for the residents – a group of about fifteen people come for worship and forty come for dinner. All of the residents have some sort of mental illness.
So when Edie heard David (worship lead) and the Atkinsons (food) were caught up in a major traffic snarl from a beltway accident (ETA completely unknown), she found herself in a bit of a pickle. Evidently she reached out and the Holy Spirit walked right in, and what erupted was spontaneous and joyful worship.
It was an amazing display of God’s gifts at work in a way that is really humbling. Edith (the resident Edie talks about) can’t read a clock, has few teeth and her hands shake, but she filled the room and everyone in it with the songs she wrote and with her beautiful voice. For those of you who would like a chance to feel God’s grace at work, join us sometime at At Jacob’s Well.
We had our first group mission trip of the fall season this past Saturday, to The Samaritan Women. The timing was the day before the Sunday FaithWorks launch, there had been no publicity about it (my bad!), and the weather was wet and chilly. Nonetheless, four intrepid women of Resurrection came to serve!
It had rained overnight and was still raining when we arrived at 9:00 a.m. Knowing we would be doing outdoor work, I was a bit anxious about what the morning would be like, but kept thinking “God will provide whatever we need.” When we checked in at the white house, an old mansion converted into office space for TSW, Jon (farm & grounds manager at TSW) said we could wait in the first-floor meeting room where he had a fire going in the fireplace. Wow, good start on God’s provision! Warm and welcoming. All of the other volunteer groups had cancelled that morning except for Elizabeth who was there on her own…it was a good opportunity to visit while we waited.
When the rain had slowed to a heavy mist, Jon led us outside to get to work. The task for the morning: digging postholes, by hand. They are erecting a tall deer-proof fence around their large garden and future orchard – at least an acre if not two. The fence is at least eight feet tall, and Jon wanted the holes to be four feet deep. Did I mention: dug by hand? We each were issued a posthole digger and a shovel, and went to work.
A lot of things go through your mind when you are digging a deep hole. Is it even possible to go that deep? Laundry is waiting at home. Focus – use your core, lift with your legs, spare your back! We’ve only been at this for 15 minutes?!? Darn rocks! Darn roots! Wow, the hole is actually getting deeper! The first chapter of James came to mind: “Consider it pure joy, brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces persistence.” Okay, okay, I get it…adversity, persistence, joy.
It turns out James is right…I know he’s talking about trials of faith, but the idea holds with postholes, too. The point came to mind again on Sunday during David’s sermon about Noah when he mentioned, among the fun facts, it would have taken 65 years to build the ark. It comes to mind, too, when considering The Samaritan Women and what they have accomplished in seven short years – renovation of the property, the women they’ve helped, the programs they’ve developed -- steady development on all fronts, one “posthole” at a time.
Many thanks to Edie Townsend, Elaine Carey, and Jean Hippert – it was a joy to serve with you!