When I look back over my first 10 days of life in the Hodgenville community, what has captured my attention has been the great expressions of love that are easily shared with great sweat equity. I have witnessed great expressions of agape love. The beloved disciple John once wrote about this kind of love in his Gospel when we quoted Jesus saying, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends (John 15.13 NRSV).”
The first sign of great love came with the planned purchase of a parsonage. What an incredible surprise that the house would feel like our home so quickly. The outpouring of physical labor to help us move was very appreciated.
The second sign of great love came as our sound system crashed on Sunday morning which gave an opportunity for a gracious donor to replace our sound system!
The third sign of great love came through VBS. It took a lot of patience among the adults to accomplish the goal of such a fantastic experience. It was obvious to see the joy on the children’s faces increase as the days went by. It was evident how the kids exercised their good behavior and self-control. The teachers demonstrated such gentleness toward each learner, patiently waiting for answers to questions and heart-felt comments. The precious babies brought a sense of sweet peace as they were carried around the church. I cannot express the deep gratitude I feel toward all those who contributed their presence, prayers, gifts, service and witness to make this VBS event so memorable. The faithful design and clean-up crew worked endlessly to ensure the perfect experience. The kitchen crew demonstrated kindness and goodness as they prepared tasty meals for so many people! We will never know the extent of the lives that were touched this week. But rest assured the love shared here was agape love – the kind of love that lasts forever in the Kingdom of God.
The fourth sign of great love came through the gracious love of the Lawless family who experienced the significant loss of a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather.
There were so many expressions of great love and hospitality I cannot list them all. To be sure I will never forget the hospitality and sacrifices that have encircled us here. We have been blessed and welcomed with all the fruit of the Spirit! Many Kingdom friendships have been discovered and planted. May God bless the congregation of Hodgenville UMC and the community it serves with Jesus’ love.