The Balcony People

By Fred Leist, Lead Pastor

This weekend in worship two special commemorations will coincide - Mother’s Day and Senior Recognition Sunday. The morning message, entitled, The Balcony People, will help connect those two commemorations.

On the one hand, we’ll talk together about how faithful mothers are “balcony people” who lift us up and call forth the highest and best from us. On the other hand, our graduating High School Seniors will be challenged to avoid the “basement people” who drag out the darkest and lowest instincts and impulses in us…linking themselves instead, to the balcony people who seek to raise them to a higher and more noble level of living. It will be a great Sunday in worship together. 

With mothers and the influence others have in our lives in mind, I want to share something that I came across in my files this week. It is a letter that a woman wrote to her parents in celebration of a milestone wedding anniversary for them. Seeking a perfect gift for the occasion, she decided to write this: 

To my parents on their Anniversary: How do I say thank you for all the love and caring over the years? How do I repay all the nights you stayed up when I was sick, and all the floors you walked when I was late coming home? What can I give you for all the times you supported me in my triumphs, and provided a shoulder when there were losses? What present is there for all the times we just sat together and shared our warmth? How do I say thank you for the guidance when I was unsure of my way, and your restraint to allow me to find it myself? You nurtured my growth yet allowed me my independence. How can I measure the worth of your love? What gift is enough?

The answer came to me today. No box can hold it, no wrapping can cover it, nor can a ribbon tie it. No store had it on a shelf. My gift is not to you, it is to my children. I promise to care for them when they are sick and walk the floors when they are late. I will share with them their victories, and comfort them when there are losses. I will help them grow, yet let them choose their own path. I will be there when they need me, and step aside when they must go alone. And someday, maybe, they will come to me and say, “How can we thank you for all you’ve done for us?” And I will tell them, “Don’t thank me. Thank my parents. For I am the product of their love, and you are my greatest gift to them.”