Faith Matters - It takes a trainWhile on a trip to Boston, I spent many hours on what the locals call the "train." Two things I was prepared for: getting lost on the confusing mass transit system and encountering rude Bostonians. Seldom did I experience either.
By: Kent Stillson, Pastor, Alexandria Echo Press
While on a trip to Boston, I spent many hours on what the locals call the "train."
Two things I was prepared for: getting lost on the confusing mass transit system and encountering rude Bostonians. Seldom did I experience either.
As beautiful and historic as Boston is, the train provided some of the more memorable moments.
When there was standing room only, young people gave up their seats for the elderly. Families with small children were politely given seating priority. One hot afternoon the conductor showed the utmost respect in assisting a handicapped man with the antiquated lift system.
One late evening on the train showed humanity at its best.
A young mom struggled with her overly tired 4-year-old. She held a sack of groceries and did her best to keep her son from disrupting the rest of the passengers for the 45 minute ride. She was losing the battle.
A woman from two rows back came to the rescue. "Why don't you sit with me," she said to the boy. "I have a story to tell you."
With that she took the child with her, asked him his name and all the while kept talking with mom to assure her of her son's safety.
The woman learned the child's favorite sport was basketball and began to weave a story of the boy playing in the championship game. At one point she yelled out, "Is anyone on this train a sports announcer?"
A young man sitting behind them began to do a play-by-play of the final seconds of the imaginary game with the no-longer-grumpy boy as the star.
The whole train was getting into the story. We cheered when the boy scored points in the make believe game and did the "wave," much to the boy's delight.
The game ended when the train arrived at its destination, but the laughter and chatter continued as we strangers dispersed into the night.
Paraphrasing a common proverb, "It takes a train to raise a child."
Events like I witnessed on the train is what Jesus meant when he said, "Love one another." In small ways, in everyday ways, we change the world and make life better, one person at a time.
The compassion shown on the train sustained me for several days. It helped me realize the importance of small kindnesses and connected me with the people of Boston.
"For God so loved the world," the Bible says. Then shouldn't we also? Loving the entire world is humanly impossible (we are far from being God) but we can care for the little corner we have contact with.
What child or struggling parent needs your help? What school or community outreach needs your skills? Some of us live a long way from family. How about getting involved with an adopt-a-grandparent program or become a mentor?
God created us to be in relationship with others. Jesus' promise that, "where two or more are gathered, there am I in the midst of them," is not confined to the walls of the church.