(No animals were harmed in the writing of this article.)
His white coat was not easy to miss in the late afternoon sunlight. I was startled by his presence. Immediately, I tried to think of some way to respond to his presence. Seeing a rock, I picked it up and let it fly in his direction. Of course, I missed. He was too small and I was too inaccurate.
He was a mouse. At least, I started out thinking that he was a mouse. The longer we were together, the more I started to think he might be an escaped lab rat. He was too white to be an ordinary rat. As it turned out he was also smart and fast.
My rock missed the mouse and hit the side of the deck, attracting the attention of my oldest son. “What are you doing?” Maintaining operational silence, I used hand signals to communicate the presence of our intruder. My son peered over the side of the deck and quickly spotted the white mouse. Instinctively, he found a semi-suitable weapon for mouse hunting. The mouse was cornered. We made our move, and the mouse made his, around the corner of the house, under the fence, toward the front of the house.
Josh and I were in hot pursuit when my youngest son said, “What are you doing?”
“There’s a mouse in the monkey grass.” Without any further encouragement, he joined the fray. Before he made his ultimate escape, we chased that mouse from one end of the yard and back, from flower bed to flower bed, from bush to bush. Midway through our hunt, I could not help but notice how much fun we were having together. The energy was high, our purpose was clear, our passion was rising, and we were together. I slowed my efforts to get the mouse in order to watch my boys.
This little adventure was different. It wasn’t like I had asked one of them to help with something around the house, which they may well have done, but certainly not with the same spirit and energy. There was joy and delight in those 15 or so minutes of mouse hunting.
I could not help but wonder if what I was feeling was similar to what God might feel when we drop whatever we are doing and spend some time playing, worshipping and working with God. How does God feel when we throw ourselves wholly, completely, maybe even recklessly, into something that God thinks is important? What sorts of activities are we doing that cause God to experience joy and delight?
Three months ago Kendall McCosh, one of our deacons, suggested a prayer ministry whereby our deacons would pray for the members of our congregation. The idea is simple. Each deacon is given the names of six to eight church members that he or she will pray for each day. The praying started this week. I believe it is an activity that will bring joy and delight to the heart of God.
I believe that it does so for several reasons, the most prominent of which is the nature of God. God is a loving God. God’s love is never more evident than in Jesus Christ who took on flesh and came to us so that we might know just how much God loves us. When we are praying for another person, we are demonstrating our love for that person. Only God knows the impact on a person’s life when the love expressed by our praying joins with the great love that God has for that person. What we do know is that God desires to be in an intimate and loving relationship with each one of us. So when we love one another with prayer, we are doing the very thing that is the desire of God’s heart.
Therefore, know that you are loved not only by God, but that you are being loved by one of your deacons as he or she prays for you each day. Also know that these men and women who accept the call to provide ministry leadership for our congregation are doing so in a way that brings joy and delight to God’s heart.