Jenny and I have been in Bar Harbor, Maine the last few days and have loved it. On a sunset cruise on a sailboat, we found ourselves sitting next to and older couple that seemed nice, but a good bit older than us. If you know me, you know that I’m not exactly Chatty-Cathy. As a result, I kept my attention on Jenn, Abby and Sam.
Soon after leaving Bar Harbor for the sail, we were laughing as we sang along with the live entertainer strumming his guitar. Trust me when I say, we brought a little red-neck to the sailboat excursion.
Back to the older couple. By the time we finished Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, these folks started singing along to John Denver’s Take Me Home Country Road. The rest of the boat started as well and we all had great fun.
By the time we were docking, these new Canadian friends finally asked “what I did.” Once told that I was a pastor they immediately began telling us the story of the sudden death of their 19 year old daughter more than 40 years ago. The small opening of kindness and the connection of a pastor to a hospital chaplain all those years ago, seemed to have allowed them to describe their hurt. We left them encouraged.
I began to share, along with Jenny of what the old hymn says – “Precious Memories, How They Linger…How the Linger on My Soul.” I encouraged them, like everyone else i counsel, with the truth of Gods plans.
I know you are wondering how this connects to civility. Well, several hours earlier as we descended Cadillac Mountain, I shared with the girls of my desire to be more intentionally kind, gracious and civil. I think they might have thought, “AChuck, it might would have been nice had you started a few years earlier.”
Connect my confession to become a more gracious and civil person to sharing the grace of the Lord with this still wounded couple and you’ve got a real God inspired providential moment.
What’s my big take-away? Without the intentional desire to be a more civil follower of Christ, I would never have had the joy of encouraging a couple that seemed void of a solid faith system. I would have also missed what the Divine will now do in their lives.
I am convinced that when we act in gracious civility, the Divine shows up in the lives of the folks we extend civility to.
I’m just a pastor of a great church, imagine the good that God could choose you to do!
Keep it Civil,