Your elders here at Northwest take turns giving the announcements and final prayer.  As I look out on the faces of so many with whom I have shared a life in Christ I am humbled.  We have rejoiced and grieved together in good times and bad. Some of us have known each other for decades, others I am still striving to know better. Some are guests for the first time and still others are former members who have made a special effort to be back at the place where they have their spiritual roots. Each face has a story.

I wonder if God looks down on His creation in a somewhat similar way?  Does He see a people who have chosen to praise and honor Him and have kept that commitment for many years?  Does He see searchers who want to believe His promises but are burdened down with sorrow, hardships and broken promises of faithless humans? Does He see the pure and honest hearts of our Youth Group and small children? Each face has a story.

It is such a blessing to know that the next generations are building their own faith but have been influenced by the example of their parents, grandparents and older Christians.  Certainly we have sinned against God and them at times, but hopefully they have seen our repentance and His forgiveness and realize He will treat them the same way. Each face has a story.

As I reflect on these thoughts, a song keeps echoing in my head.  “What a fellowship, what a joy divine, Leaning on the everlasting arms; …Safe and secure from all alarms;” (# 589) We all have a life story behind our face. May it reflect more and more a heart full of care and concern for everyone we meet as we try to grow up in the likeness of Jesus Christ.  Our life and our story is too short and uncertain to waste time in resentment, quarrels, envy and bitter thoughts. Let us look each morning into the mirror of God’s forgiveness (Col 3:13) and then let that reflection shine in the face of our fellow man.

–Jim Bailey