About two years ago, we had a theft at the church that left me shaking my head in disbelief. Our son, Benjamin, has Down Syndrome. For Sunday worship, he sits with my wife Jeanne in one of the back pews. There are two signs on that pew. There is one for Ben and one for Mom.
Ben has a difficult time when there are changes made to his environment. He does much better when there is consistency and a routine that he can count upon. So to give him this structure in the church, these signs were placed so he could sit in the same spot.
Benjamin also had a Jesus doll that he placed there. Everyone knew that it was his. It was never moved by anyone else. It stayed there for about two years. That is, until one day the doll disappeared sometime mid-week. This was especially disappointing to me. I shook my head and muttered to myself, “Someone stole Jesus. What is the world coming to?”
The good news is that a new Jesus doll was purchased. However, this one stays at home. We wouldn’t want Jesus to be stolen from church again.
During the week, we open the church building to several wonderful organizations, hold special events, and occasionally have people in need come in off the streets. There are a lot of folks who come and go from the facility. When you have this, I understand, upon occasion things can disappear.
Last week our church experienced another theft. Three of our hanging flower baskets were stolen. They were quite large, donated by a parishioner, and cost about $50 each. They hung just outside of the front door of the entrance to the church.
When I was told of their disappearance, I was stunned. Who would do such a thing? Who would steal from a church?
What was heartening for me, however, was that a wonderful soul heard about the flowers that went missing. She purchased three baskets to replace the ones that were stolen. She isn’t even a member of our church, and she simply did so out of the goodness of her heart.
You know who you are. Thank you for your thoughtful generosity and act of kindness.
I wish for every unkind act in this world there would be a multitude of caring actions in response, or even just one. What a wonderful world that would be.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for more than 30 years.