Helen Mills tells the following story. “I had been away for a long weekend. When the taxi pulled up to my house late in the afternoon, the first thing I saw was a snowman. He stood tall and proud in front of my living room window as if he were welcoming me. I looked in disbelief as I paid my fare.
“After checking the house, I came outside again. As I looked around, I noticed another snowman in front of a neighbor's house three doors down, and another one across the street. All three snowmen were "guarding" the homes of widows.
“I called my neighbors. "Did you see your snowman? Do you know who made them?" They, too, were delighted with the creations in the snow, but mystified as to the makers. Obviously, neighborhood children. But I though that the boys on our street were too big to bother.
“The following day I saw the mother of two of the boys. "Sue," I asked, "has Matthew (age 9) added snow sculpture to his other accomplishments?"
"No," she replied, then quietly added, "Mark (age 12) and his friend Colin made them. They said, 'Let's surprise the ladies and make them happy.' " (Helen Mills, Christian Reader, Vol. 34.)
In his letter, the Apostle Paul tells the Ephesian Christians, “Put away all bitterness…and be kind to one another.”
Kindness is a cardinal virtue for Christians, and for people of other great religions as well. By kind acts we concretely live out the second great commandment: to love my neighbor as myself. One kind act will teach more love of God than a thousand sermons.
An old Danish proverb says, “Kind words don't wear out the tongue.” They are free, and bring joy to both the speaker and the recipient. As live with Covid-19 and high racial and political tension, I encourage you to remember this basic but essential virtue. Be kind to one another.
“Count that day lost in which you have not tried to do something for someone else.” What if our first thought every morning was not “what must I accomplish, or what do I want today,” but instead was, “What kindness can I do today?”
God be with you,
The Rev. Dr. Thomas D. Harries