by Carle Howell
We all have had our “burning bush” moments where God has appeared to us. Many have recognized His calling and, like Moses, looked for the why; others have acted upon the calling. Others have unconsciously passed by the “burning bush” and moved on with their lives. And most of us have lived all three “burning bush” moments, much as we live the four stages of the seeds.
Ascension has been “Called to be a Blessing” in all the years I have been a member. We embrace genuine love and do not hold fast to what has been good, as Paul tells us in Romans. We strive to be a blessing to all who walk through our doors. Thus, we are a diverse community of ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, political leanings, age, etc.
Ascension has actively answered the Call in many ways through our community outreach. These have changed over the years but include partnerships with Stults Elementary and Sam Tasby Middle School; a church home for both Nigerian and South Sudanese communities; service to the homeless both at Austin Street and the blessing bags; a food pantry for people in need; and water for the people in Sandbranch.
These are some ways Ascension has answered the Call, but how do we recognize and answer the Call in our everyday lives? We participate in many Ascension outreaches, but beyond that, how? Each of us has met and will encounter “burning bushes.” It is up to us to recognize them and act with love, zeal, and an ardent spirit to serve our Lord. “Calls” that have touched me were talking with an acquaintance threatening to commit suicide, assisting a person needing money to pay for groceries, buying dinner for a police officer, and volunteering at Big Brothers.
I invite you to accept the challenge to answer the “Call to be a Blessing” for those opportunities at Ascension and look beyond such as giving words of encouragement, mentoring, paying for someone’s groceries, doing someone’s chores, sitting with someone who needs companionship, sharing our bounty, listening with empathy, and many more.
Carle's reflection is based on Sunday, September 3rd's readings from Romans 12: 9-21
Carle is semi-retired, working six months a year helping retirees find Medicare plans that fit their needs. He has worked in the insurance industry for the past 56 years.
He has participated in many activities at Ascension, including serving as a Verger, being a past Vestry member and past Convention Delegate, serving as a choir member, acting as a visiting lay minister, serving on various committees, and helping on many of our other community outreaches. Carle is married to Mary Lou, and they have been married for 33 years.