On my first day as a new resident of Elkton, I stopped in at American Home and Hardware, on Main Street, and I got interested in the swiss army knives. When I chose one, the salesman was very helpful, showing me several different instruments it had other than knife blades. Then he opened another one, and said, “Now this is a toothpick, not that there are any teeth in Cecil County.”
Just this morning at 6.30, I had to run over to Home Depot to get a plunger. I found the plunger and decided to pick up the little grill that we had already bought but had not yet taken home. While the attendant was helping me put the grill in the back of my SUV, making small talk, I said, “My wife ordered this grill, but it’s a little small. I’m afraid we’ll be having people over, and then run out of burgers.” He said, “Well, if they complain, you can just hit them over the head with the plunger.”
Those moments were gifts to me. Gifts of laughter. The kind of sudden, hard laughter that takes you by surprise, and brings a smile every time you think of it afterwards. I’m smiling right now as I write this. Thank you for your sense of humor, Cecil County!
And I’ve already discovered that the men’s group on Thursday mornings has lots of laughter to give you, too. They also have gifts of engaged Bible study and earnest prayer. I’ve also received the gift of being brought alongside a few of you women prayer warriors Tuesday morning, as you lifted up people before God.
I am speaking for Laurel, too, when I say that our coming to be with you here in Elkton, and especially here at Elkton Presbyterian Church, has been for us an amazing gift. As a church family, you truly are a gift. You have been creative and generous in your giving. Susan Cebrat making a ring of cards for our Brian, with pictures and labels for each room in the church. While we were still in Pittsburgh, several of you put in some very hard work, cleaning our new house, and cutting up and removing three cypress trees that had been damaged by a recent windstorm. An amazing gift. We both thank you, so much! These kind actions, though, come from the deeper gift—the gift you give which is yourselves—your love, kindness, generosity, prayerfulness, sensitivity to the Spirit. And I know that you are that way because of the greatest gift there is, Jesus Christ himself, and the loving work he has been doing in you for many years. Your worship, your service, your character as a church family are gifts from God. I feel deeply grateful for this opportunity to join you in serving and loving and praying and worshipping. God is good!