Over the last couple of weeks, I have learned another of the hazards of growing older. It seems that my skin is getting thinner! I have been making crosses in my workshop. I am making them from oak that was giving to me by a couple of members (the wood actually came from trees on their farms that they harvested and cut into boards). This oak is not completely finished--it is a bit rough. It seems that every time I work with it, I end up knocking off a little piece of skin. It isn't all that painful, just irritating.
So, now when I work with the wood I have to wear gloves. It isn't that I have anything against gloves, it is just that I miss the feel of the wood in my hands. There is something therapeutic about working with wood. I make the crosses to give to people when I visit with them in the hospital or when they are having a spiritual crisis (or sometimes just to say I am praying for you). As I work on them (with praise music playing in the background) I pray for those who will receive them. It therefore becomes an extension of my ministry.
Some people might think it strange for a preacher to spend hours in a workshop making crosses when I could buy a cross without the time spent or the blood lost, but it is more than just a "prayer cross" that I am making. When I spend the time to make them, I am literally giving a piece of myself to everyone who receives a cross.
What is it that you can do for others? My mother-in-law gives a part of herself when she makes and embroiders the blankets that our congregation ties for prayer blankets. The people who receive them may never see her, but she is there. I had an aunt in a small town in Kentucky that would make banana bread from the bananas the store in town could no longer sell. Both the woman who gave her the bananas (for free) and my aunt had a special ministry in providing these delicious breads to the people of the area. So, again I ask, what can you do for others?
As we continue our Lenten journey, let us all take time to figure out just what we can do to make someone else's life better. Be it banana bread, a cross, or simply a phone call to check in on someone that you haven't seen for a while. It is the right think to do, and you'll feel better for having done it!