Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Shepastor: "Conventions, Long Lines and Life..."
This past week, my family and I were blessed to participate in the Progressive National Baptist Convention gathering, in New Orleans, Louisiana. For many reasons, our time away was empowering, encouraging, enlightening and refreshing. Daily we heard powerful messages from pastors and leaders from across the Country.
We were also privileged to hear messages from public officials, dignitaries, missionaries, and service men and women. Of all the days, however, one day in particular sticks out in my mind. Vice Presidential Nominee, Senator Tim Kane was coming, unexpectedly, to address us. Although the meeting was not going to be held until 10:00 a.m., we were told that “the doors would open at 8:30 a.m.” We were all encouraged to arrive bright and early. My family was tired from the previous day’s activities and decided to sleep in. So off I went to “represent.”
As I stepped off of the elevator, another guest says, “Have you seen that line? Some people have been down there since 7:00 a.m.!” As I looked over the balcony, literally hundreds of people were lined up for as far as I could see! I took a deep breath and convinced myself that I could make it! Walking, walking, walking, I sheepishly looked for the “end” of the line to jump in. When I finally reached the end, the last of us were told to go down the escalator to another floor below to make room and start a new line!
I debated about whether or not I should continue, but figured I’d gotten up, put on my makeup (a big deal!) and dress and was all geared up, so I stayed. As I stood, several beautiful ladies (inside and out) began laughing and talking about the experience of standing in this loooooong line. I chimed in, resonating with comments about arthritis, aching knees, medicines, and how ridiculous this all seemed. Soon we began learning about one another…our home church, our home town, ministry endeavors etc. Once they learned that I was a senior pastor, they wanted to know about my experiences, struggles and triumphs. An hour and a half passed before we reached the door.
But amazingly, it didn’t seem to matter. During that time we became less focused upon our discomfort and more focused upon hearing one another. We learned about each other, became concerned about each other, and began advocating for each other…telling ushers and secret service members that this one or that one needed to be able to sit down because of their conditions. While I enjoyed Senator Kane, I was richly blessed, inspired, empowered and encouraged by the time I spent in line with my new “Sister Friends.” My legs, which in general can’t take standing too long before cramping were able to stand almost two hours…I believe, because of encouragement, fellowship and love.
Life is filled with “long lines” of sorts. The journey, however, is made so much more bearable when we have others to share in the experience. When hearts are open, sharing is genuine, and people don’t feel the need to “put on airs,” marvelous fellowship can happen.
I don’t know if I’ll ever see my new friends again, but on that day, that long line seemed so much shorter because of their warmth. May we seek to help others make it through life’s long lines by emanating warmth and sincerity from our hearts.
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,