And He said to them, "When you pray, say: 'Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.' And lead us not into temptation. -- Luke 11: 2-4 (NASB)
We all long for a purpose that makes us feel alive. It strikes a deep chord within us as we listen to someone who is deeply passionate about life; people who are totally devoted to, and energized by, their daily existence. On a recent business trip I met one of those passionate people. Jack had recently retired, yet he was still so excited about the migrant head-start program he founded. He has spent decades of his life helping the families of migrant farm workers. Jack's town, like many small agricultural communities, depends upon migrant workers to harvest the crops. He saw the needs of the impoverished migrant families and dedicated himself to helping them have a better life. Joy and energy just radiate from Jack; he is a man of passion.
How this passion started is the real story. Jack fell in love with the migrant community through tragedy. One night his daughter was driving home when she was involved in a head on collision -- she was killed instantly. The driver of the other vehicle, who was driving impaired, was a migrant worker. Anger and grief motivated Jack to learn about the man who had killed his daughter. He met the driver's family and learned about the community in which he lived and worked. A turning point in Jack's life came when he remembered how loving his daughter was. He felt she would have forgiven the driver. Somehow, in the midst of this horrific tragedy, true grace surfaced. Instead of living a life of anger and bitterness Jack found forgiveness and, unbelievably, passion. His passion is to help the family, friends, and community of the man who killed his daughter. Jack's love for the migrant community is contagious. Talk with him and you can't help but be moved by his sense of purpose. Once you understand that his passion was birthed out of such tragedy, you begin to realize how amazing God's redemptive grace really is. -- Scott Briggs
Prayer: God, your grace is bigger than we can ever imagine. Even in the midst of pain and suffering, Your grace somehow abounds. Help us to catch a glimpse of it and share it with those in need, even if they do not seem to deserve it. Amen
Scott Briggs works for Mississippi Regional Office of the Society of St. Andrew.