In the eyes of most people, Green Mountain Falls is clearly a town of little consequence. New York City has 10,000 times as many citizens. My house is bigger than their Town Hall. There isn't even a store there, remember? But don't tell that to the people in my church. I have been encouraged again and again by their sense of connectivity with the world.
When our Pastor went to visit his ailing grandfather in England, he took with him a prayer shawl knitted by the women of the church. He returned to tell us that the gift had brought tears to the eyes of his grandfather, who asked why someone so many miles away would care about him. A similar prayer shawl was recently sent to a missionary in Indonesia, the nephew of a church member. Before it was sent, the shawl was passed around the church so that it might pass through the hands of everyone present, prayed over individually by each soul in the sanctuary. When I held it in my own hands, praying briefly for the man who would recieve it, I was suddenly so aware of the bigness of the body of Christ.
Last week, when students 1,500 miles away were killed at Virgina Tech, the church did not simply make brief mention of it, using it as a point of departure for a theological discussion of suffering. Rather, each victim's name was read aloud, slowly and clearly. The silence that followed was broken only by the sound of the church bell, sounded once for each of the deceased. The pastor told me later that he'd heard many pastors talking about their plans to discuss Earth Day, or to simply continue with the sermon they had planned before. To him, this was unthinkable--the suffering of our brothers and sisters must be recognized, and names must be remembered.
The examples go on. As the weather warms, many migrant workers will be coming in for the summer work. In Green Mountain Falls, church members are creating small bags of hygeine products for them. In support of children with Cancer, an elderly woman shaved her long, grey hair. How beautiful.
In the sleepy, unknown town of Green Mountain Falls, I am learning a little about what it means to care for my world. I am witnessing a group of people who are abundantly generous, despite having a budget that is probably less than ten percent of most of the more recognized churches. I am learning that being small doesn't have to mean being insignificant. Yes, it's true that the vast majority of the world has never heard of Green Mountain Falls, but those small town hearts are loving and blessing their global body nonetheless.