I had to laugh. My friend John said, “It’s a teeny, weenie part. There are only a few line to memorize. Will you help me out?” Like a fish grabbing the bait, I was hooked. The play was being produced by Luis Pabon. His kids always put on a great show. Besides, it was a benefit for the Tommy Toy Fund. How could I say no?
When I showed up for my first rehearsal, John went over the script with me and then added, “Did I tell you about the song?” Suddenly, a few lines became 20 and dad, that’s me, was going to perform a little “song and dance” routine too. “It’ll be fun!” John said.
After a week of rehearsals I think John might have regretted having his old friend help him out. I was struggling to remember the lyrics of the song. That’s when a beautiful thing happened. One of the young ladies from the cast came up to me before rehearsal. She said, “I’ve been practicing your song. I could help you if you want.”
It was so thoughtful! Then an amazing thing happened. At least four other girls did the same thing. One by one, they came up and offered to help me learn my lines. I was moved by their concern for me. Then they were joined by a half dozen others who sang with me as I practiced my song at the back of the hall.
Their support made a difference. I did my best job ever that night during rehearsal. My confidence soared. Even as I sang, I knew that I wasn’t alone. It was like being in church. I’ve always thought of the church as being a family. People care about you. They support you and lift you up in prayer when you are struggling.
The church isn’t perfect. It’s made up of fallen people. Yet God created the church to be a community where where his values can be lived out. It was a testing ground to see if strangers could be turned into family. In the early church the believers gathered together and shared all things in common. It was a beloved community.
Imagine what would happen if we took that into the world? What if we started encouraging each other instead of trying to find fault? Imagine how our communities would change if we came alongside people who were struggling and helped them get back on their feet. I know it worked for me.
So let me challenge you during this season of Advent, Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza. Look for people and situations where you can be a blessing. Look for opportunities to perform random acts of kindness. Who knows? Maybe in doing so you will give someone just what they need to shine when their moment comes.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.