10 April 2019 - Sylva, North Carolina
My friends from Virginia Seminary days, Sam and Margaret Buice, offered me amazing hospitality over the past week. I stayed in their home in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia over the past week, they drove me all over to let me off and pick me up from each day of walking (especially Sam, but Margaret helped), they introduced me to their dog, Lucy, and two of their daughters, Samantha and Kimberly, arranged speaking engagements for me, and Sam invited me to preach last Sunday at the church where he serves - Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church in Clarkesville. Margaret built amazing fires in their living room, and they fully supported my walking and writing and spreading the word about 6 Million Steps for Kids. Their offerings - of all of the things I have mentioned and so much more - was huge. In the process, we got to catch up on many years of not seeing each other, and I got to know them better. And it all felt e - a - s - y and wonderful! Thanks, Sam and Margaret!
Two of the talks that Sam and Margaret helped organize for me were at two different schools associated with the Rabun Gap - Nachoochee School. I spoke at the upper school (high school) on Monday at their weekly Convocation. On Tuesday I spoke to the middle schoolers. Both talks went well, and both groups of students were attentive. I enjoyed myself both times, and I won’t go into all the details of what happened. But there is one story I would like to share.
After I had a fun Q and A with the middle schoolers on Tuesday, I discovered later that one of the middle school teachers, Mr. Ledford, asked the Associate Principal, Mrs. White, if she could visit with me and delay my departure for a few minutes. He did this so that he could go around the school and, with some of his students, take up an offering to support the children who will benefit from my 6 Million Steps for Kids project. Just before I was getting ready to leave, Mr. Ledford presented me with a shallow cardboard box that had been passed around the school. In it were a quite a few dollars, some coins, three pieces of candy, one encouraging note, and a scratch ticket that had already been scratched. (The ticket was a winner for another scratch ticket!) Mr. Ledford explained that the candy had to do with some children reaching into their pockets and offering what they found, which included candy! I was very moved by this gesture, and told Mr. Ledford so. Mrs. White put all of these offerings into an envelope, and for the afternoon part of my walk, I couldn’t stop thinking about kids (and some teachers) getting involved in helping other kids. When I returned to Sam and Margaret’s, I discovered that there was more than $180 in the envelope! Thank you, staff and children of RGN Middle School!
These are two different examples of people offering what they have to benefit others.
One of the types of prayers we talk about in the Episcopal Church is a prayer of oblation. An oblation is something offered to God. It could be money to support kingdom work in some way. It can be our time or our talent. It includes anything that we do to offer ourselves to others or to the planet - for their good - in God’s name.
I have certainly been deeply blessed by the offerings of others during the first 38 days of my walk across the United States!
What can you offer to others today, in God’s name?
Thank you for all the offerings that you make that result in the world being a better, kinder, more abundant place!