Archive for the ‘Cycle B’ Category

The Simple Truths of Service 5-16-2021

Thursday, May 13th, 2021

(This is a true story as told by Barbara Glanz, CSP.)
A few years ago, I was hired by a large supermarket chain to lead a
customer service program to build customer loyalty.
During my speech I said, “Every one of you can make a difference
and create memories for our customers that will motivate them to come
back. HOW?
Put your personal signature on the job. Think about something you
can do for your customer to make them feel special; memories that will
make them come back.
About a month after I had spoken, I received a call from a 19 year
old bagger named Johnny. He proudly informed me he was a Down
Syndrome individual and told me his story.
“I liked what you talked about”, he said, “but at first I didn’t think
I could do anything special for our customers. After all, I’m just a
bagger”. “Then I had an idea. Every night after work, I’d come home and
find a Thought For The Day.” If I can’t find a saying I like”, he added,
“I just think one up!”
When Johnny had a good Thought For The Day, his dad helped
him set it up on the computer and print multiple copies. Johnny cut out
each quote and signed his name on the back. Then he’d bring them to
work the next day.
“When I finish bagging someone’s groceries, I put my Thought
For The Day in their bag and say: “Thanks for shopping with us.”
It touched me to think that this young man, with a job most people
would say is not important, had made it important by creating precious
memories for all his customers.
A month later, the store manager called me. “You won’t believe
what happened. When I was making my rounds today, I found Johnny’s
checkout line was three times longer than anyone else’s! It went all the
way down the frozen food aisle. So I quickly announced, ‘We need more cashiers; get more lanes open!’, as I tried to get people to change
lanes. But no one would move. They said, “No, its okay, we want to be in Johnny’s lane. We want
his Thought For The Day”.
The store manager continued, “It was a joy to watch Johnny
delight the customers”. I got a lump in my throat when one woman said,
“I used to shop at your store once a week, but now I come in every time
I go by, because I want to get Johnny’s Thought For The Day.”
A few months later, the manager called me again. “Johnny has
transformed our store. Now when the floral department has a broken
flower or unused corsage, they find an elderly woman or a little girl and
pin it on them. Everyone’s having fun creating memories. Our
customers are talking about us; they’re coming back, and bringing their
friends.”
A wonderful spirit of service spread throughout the entire store…
and all because Johnny chose to make a difference!
Johnny’s idea wasn’t nearly as innovative as it was loving. It came
from his heart, it was real. That’s what touched his customers, his peers…and those who read his story.
Great service comes from the heart…Will you be a Johnny today?

Love one Another 5-9-2021

Saturday, May 8th, 2021

I have a truly sad story for you today. Couple of years ago, I was
called to the cemetery to officiate at the burial of a woman who had
no parish priest. She was very old – 97 – and had been active to the
end. But when the hour for the service came, there was only one
mourner, her 75 year old son.
“Tell me about your mother, “I asked. “She must have been a
positive, energetic woman to have lived so long entirely on her
own.”
“No,” he said, shaking his head. “She was difficult. She had
no idea how to love. She was never abusive to me; she was just
nothing to me. And now she is gone.”
And so he cried for what might have been, could have been,
should have been. He cried and spoke softly to himself the
saddest words in our language, “Too late.”
Too late! May none of us ever have to speak those words. But
how can we avoid it? There’s only one sure path and Jesus laid it
out for us his gospel: “Love one another as I have loved you.” A simple formula for a life without regret. And yet we
misunderstand it all the time. We keep confusing the cheap
imitations with the real thing. Infatuation, sentimental tears, the
teenage crush, a passionate song, that warm and cozy feeling – all
very nice, but they’re not love.
To love is to give a piece of one’s heart and not take it back.
Love sticks around in the good days and the bad ones. It does
what needs to be done in tiny pieces and can be done even by the
smallest of us.
Love has its bad days when its heart is cold and there are few
cheery thoughts to warm it. But even then, love does not falter,
and does not take back that piece of the heart that it gave away.
Love’s work is never done, but its yield is never ending.
True love will never have to speak the words, “Too late!”
Long ago Jesus our brother gave his whole heart to us once and
for all. May he help us to give our hearts to one another and never take them back. May he help us never have to say: – “Too Late /
Too Late!” Let me close with this:
OH GOD,
The bumper sticker said:
“SMILE IF YOU LOVE JESUS.”
So I SMILED all day long…
And people thought I was acting a little weird.
The bumper sticker said:
“HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS.”
So I HONKED…And the policeman said I was disturbing the
PEACE.
The bumper sticker said:
“WAVE IF YOU LOVE JESUS.”
So I WAVED with both hands, lost control of the car, and
crashed into a TELEPHONE pole.
OH GOD!
If I cannot SMILE…or HONK…or even WAVE…
How will Jesus KNOW I love him?
OH CHILD OF GOD!
Mere smiling or honking or waiving is too EASY!
IF you really want to love Jesus, you must love one
ANOTHER! PLEASE DON’T FORGET!

You Come Back Now 5-2-2021

Saturday, May 1st, 2021

Sam is a great kid, but Sam is the only kid he knows that goes to
church. But Mom insists.
Mom is a writer. In Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith,
Mom explains why she wants her poor little Presbyterian church to be
part of her son’s life:
“I want to give him what I found in the world, a path and a little
light to see by. Most of the people I know who have what I want—
which is to say, purpose, heart, balance, gratitude, joy—are people with
a deep sense of spirituality. They are people in community, who pray,
or practice their faith…They follow a brighter light than the glimmer of
their own candle.”
“When I was at the end of my rope, the people of St. Andrew tied a
knot in it for me and helped me to hold on. The church became my
home. They let me in. They even said: You come back now.”
Sam was welcomed and prayed for at St. Andrew’s seven months
before he was born. When I announced during worship that I was pregnant, people cheered. All these old people, raised in Bible-
thumping homes in the Deep South, clapped. Even the women whose
grown-up boys had been or were doing time in jails or prisons rejoiced
for me…Women [who] live pretty close to the bone financially on small
Social Security checks…routinely came up to me and stuffed bills in my
pockets—tens and twenties…And then, almost immediately they set
about providing for us. They bought clothes. They brought me
casseroles to keep in the freezer. They brought me assurance that this
baby was going to be part of the family.
“I was usually filled with a sense of something like shame, until
I’d remember that wonderful line of Blake’s—that we are here to learn
to endure the beams of love—and I would take a long breath and force
these words out of my strangled throat: Thank you.”
Today’s Gospel calls us to realize the connections between Christ
and us and between us and one another. On the night before he died (the
setting of today’s Gospel) Jesus reminds his disciples of every time and
place that, in his love, we are “grafted” to one another in ways we do not completely realize or understand. As branches of Christ the vine, we are part of something greater than ourselves, something which transforms
and transcends the fragileness of our lives. May our families,
communities and parishes become extended branches for all of us who
struggle to realize our own harvests of joy and discovery, of grace and
faithfulness.
I close – “When I was at the end of my rope, the people of St.
Andrew/the people of San Carlos  tied a knot in it for me and helped
me to hold on. The church became my home. They let me in. They
even said: You come back now.”