Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Look for the Helpers
John 10:11-18

When a young Fred Rogers (beloved children’s television host, “Mr. Rogers,” and Presbyterian minister) was frightened by the news on TV or a scary movie, he would talk to his parents about his fears. His mother would say, “Always look for the people who are helping. You’ll always find people who are trying to help.”

The news has been pretty scary these days. Scary and sad. Uncertain, frustrating, disappointing, angering. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through social media without seeing articles about people or animals in pain. I thank God regularly for the cute kitten videos, hedgehogs wearing socks, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s new fluffy penguin chicks that pop up in my newsfeed. These are glimmers of light, love, and joy in an otherwise dark and terrifying constant stream of news.

And then there are also the helpers that give me hope.

There’s the story of Aaron Feis, the assistant football coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, who died after throwing himself between a spray of gunfire and his students last month on that terrible Ash Wednesday.

There’s the story of AP Government & Politics teacher at MS Douglas High School, Jeff Foster, who was vital in getting a new gun control measure passed in Florida and is the teacher who encouraged and supported the student advocates to get out and make their voices heard.

Then there are those student advocates. The newest crop of young activists who are saying #ENOUGH. Enough of the fear. Enough of the crime. Enough of the death.


And then there’s us.

I’m grateful to be a part of the SFTS community. The students, faculty, and staff at SFTS are here because we want to care for others. We want to live in a community where people care for each other. We want to take our faith, whatever that may be, outside these walls, and do important, world-changing work.  The members of this community share a common set of values and a common understanding of what it means to be good and kind, to help others, to give of ourselves.

This is what God has asked us to do. Give of ourselves to our family, our friends. Give of ourselves to strangers, animals, our natural world. Even just one small act of goodness or kindness creates a ripple effect that can only grow into acts of greater magnitude.

This Lenten season, and always: Don’t just look for the helpers, be one of them.

“To say that one identifies as a person of faith is to feel a compulsion to live in ways that care for others. It’s one thing to talk about living a life with God, but…to be created in the image of God means to care for others.”   —Rev. Yolanda M. Norton, SFTS Assistant Professor of Old Testament

Marissa J. Miller
SFTS Communications Manager

A Note from the Chaplain: Today’s devotion writer, Marissa Miller, will become the Seminary’s new Director of Alumni Relations, beginning April 1, 2018.  As Communications Manager, Marissa has been an important partner in the Seminary’s Advent and Lent devotion project—leading the design and publication efforts of this project with her characteristic creativity and grace.  As her colleague—and as an alum of SFTS!—I am thrilled that Marissa will be working with and for the Seminary and its alumni/ae in this new capacity.