May 21, 2010

Known By Their Love

2010 1514 page7 capOU’LL BE LOVED AT IMMANUEL CHURCH,” READ THE BUMPER STICKER on the car ahead of me. In spite of countless stories I’ve heard to the contrary over the years, I believe the same can be said of many Adventist churches—particularly the ones my mother attends.
Following my mom’s emergency surgery some months back, I took a few weeks’ leave of absence from work to care for her—and I certainly didn’t lack for emotional, spiritual, and practical support, even from outside my immediate family. Phone calls and visits from members of the two small Adventist churches in the Canadian city where she lives, as well as a third church in a nearby town, literally filled my days from morning to evening. Food, flowers, and cards arrived regularly, along with countless offers of help. And their concern and assistance haven’t diminished with time.
Even now my mom’s church family continues to look out for her by driving her to medical appointments, bringing her casseroles when they don’t think she’s eating enough, and frequently calling to make sure she’s OK. “You’re greatly blessed,” I’ve told her. And because of their care for her, I’m blessed too; they ease my own worries because I know that although I live several hours away, she’s in good hands.
The helpfulness and concern of my mother’s neighbors also have left me no less amazed. From simple phone calls to shoveling her snow-covered sidewalk and later mowing her lawn, the people who live on my mom’s street have exemplified the term “good neighbor.”
Jesus tells us that true Christians will be known by their love. When I think of my mother’s neighbors and church family—along with the countless other neighborhoods and churches out there like these—I can say: “How very true.” 
Sandra Blackmer is features editor of the Adventist Review. This article was published May 20, 2010.