Easter Sunday. A time to celebrate our risen King with family and friends, and to see the joy in our children's faces as they chase after hidden eggs.
It is also another day we need to spread God's love and show His grace to those around us, many of who have long been denied this basic human need.
On our way to visit a downtown neighbor in the hospital with a very serious MRSA staph infection, we stopped by a nursing home to visit/say goodbye to a dear friend at the end of his battle with cancer. Months before, this friend was homeless and all alone, trying to process a terminal cancer diagnosis, when a friend of our ministry and church reached out to 'do you know Him? Ministries'. Today, he is surrounded by a roomful of people, including his son (a relationship God has recently restored), loving on him, many there for the day. Though it is a sad moment, it is beautiful to see a once lonely man surrounded by so much love, knowing he now has a relationship with the Lord who received him into his kingdom the morning following Easter. (He departed this world not alone, but in the presence of a group of friends who stayed by his side for more than 20 straight hours through the night to shepherd him into the Lord’s arms.)
Before leaving for the hospital, we found out that another neighbor had a seizure on his way to Manchester Christian Church's Easter celebration at the JFK and was now in that same hospital, and we needed to check on him while we were there. As we visited with him, he explains that he was alone when it happened and another neighbor saw it to get him help. The comment that struck me hardest was him telling of how lonely and scared he was being there without anyone knowing and the doctors unsure of what is wrong. The hospital was able to contact his mother, who had just left right before we arrived, but he had no way of letting his girlfriend know what was going on because his phone was dead and he didn't have her number memorized. Fortunately, we were able to reach her for him so he wouldn't be so alone any longer.
Though I am exhausted from a long, busy day, I feel so blessed to be the hands and feet of Jesus, shining His light to scatter the darkness and ward off the loneliness. While the breakfasts introduce us to our neighbors, it is these one-on-one moments where they get to know Him by seeing His love and His grace first hand.