October 20 – Laity Sunday (3rd Sunday in October – no special offering)/19th Sunday After Pentecost

A Moment for Mission

"I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." —Psalm 121:1-2, NRSV

When lonely or afraid, we call to God for help. As we connect with others in this call to God, we share our faith.

As a certified lay servant/speaker, I once visited a friend who resided in a nursing home. She was upset about having to leave home, friends and familiar surroundings. She said she was angry at finding herself isolated and surrounded by strangers and felt physically vulnerable, especially during the night. But she was determined to continue reading, listening to podcasts and reaching out to friends and mentors to discuss her personal faith in God.

I asked how she coped in her darkest moments. She said that in her times of nighttime anxiety, her strategy was to repeat to herself that she was loved by God, loved by others and, therefore, safe. She knew God was with her in this new phase of her life.

We sat together in her room, listening to a hymn on my iPad, and she began to sing along. Soon, through the open door, we noticed other residents and staff standing, watching and smiling. Together, we were touched by a moment of joy and light.

I am thankful for the opportunity to serve and share God's love and presence. I, too, am blessed when I visit others in Jesus' name. I celebrate Laity Sunday, not just today, but whenever I have an opportunity to share my faith.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, use our gifts of time and talents as we strive to serve others in your name. Open our eyes and hearts to ways of showing your love to others. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget
One opportunity for laity to serve within The United Methodist Church is through Lay Servant Ministries. Certified lay servants are trained in leadership, caring and communication. Coursework in this program is open to all. Along with other church laity, lay servants lead Sunday school classes, visit in homes and hospitals, support clergy with pulpit supply and are a voice for United Methodists within the community.

One certified lay servant grew up in a denomination that did not allow women to be church leaders. As she faced complications of aging and dependency, she could not ignore her pressing sense of being called by God. She persisted in listening to God, despite physical and social roadblocks. She believes God doesn't stop reaching out and calling everyone. She joined a United Methodist church and became part of the Lay Servant Ministries program. She speaks passionately of her burning desire to serve others.

As laity, may we persist in finding ways to serve for the glory of God!

Roberta Deason DePuy, Certified Lay Servant/Speaker and Cache River District Lay Servant Ministries Director, Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference

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