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May 3, 2012 / CB

The Best Face

Last Saturday was one of my favorite days to be a Christian.  It was Servefest.  What started with one church and a handful of volunteers has blossomed into a statewide service event.  For one day a year, people forget denomination and ignore dogma and, instead, do their best imitation of Jesus.  They lay mulch and trim bushes, paint walls and pack bags, all in the name of showing the watching world what Christians can do together.  For me, that last bit might be the most important aspect.

Most of my Servefest was spent cleaning up the grounds at an elementary school near my house, and a lot of that effort boiled down to moving mulch.  As I loaded carts and wheelbarrows, it was hard not to notice the runners, walkers, and bikers passing by.  It was also hard not to envy them.  The morning was calm and cool, perfect for a run, but I had chosen to sling shredded tree bark instead.  Man, did I want to trade places, to get a little fitter instead of a little dirtier.

As I kept watching, though, I noticed something else.  They were watching us.  Some looked openly, but most didn’t let their gaze stray beyond the corner of an eye.  Either way, though, nearly everyone was checking out our work, so I stopped for a minute to do the same.  What I saw made me stand up taller and shovel stronger.  We were showing these passersby what it means to be a Christian.  We were putting on the best face of our faith and not the one so many have come to expect.  Instead of division, they saw dedication.  Instead of condemnation, cooperation.  “All the believers were of one heart and mind (Acts 4:32).”

How could that not make people wonder about us?  How could they not, even if only for length of a step, ponder over what we know that they don’t?  I pray that they did.  I pray that, because of the sore muscles spread all over Maryland Saturday afternoon, some calloused hearts became a little softer.

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