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What We Have Left Undone

If I had heard Sunday's sermon two hours earlier, I hope I would have acted differently.

I got to church early on Sunday morning, and as soon as I got here I realized I was supposed to have made the communion bread for the service. So I got back in the car and hustled over to Acme to pick up something.

As I parked my car I noticed a woman sitting on the hillside by the parking lot. She was bundled up in several layers of ragged looking clothes, so I presume she was one of the neighborhood's homeless people. I said good morning to her as I passed and thought maybe I would pick up a bottle of water and some food for her.

I perused the bread options, found something that would work, and went to look for some little breakfast bits that I could pick up. Do I pick up something I would like? Or maybe this thing that I don't like but I know lots of other people do? Let me think about it for a minute. Let me go check the bread options one more time.

I paid for my bread, and as soon as I walked out the door I realized I had allowed myself to become distracted out of buying the woman some food. So I carefully took a route back to my car that meant I didn't have to pass her again.

I'm not proud of that moment.

Later that morning, Pr. Jason preached about the Beatitudes. He talked about being humble. He talked about how we have all been on the side of those being blessed: poor in spirit, mourning, meek, hungry for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers. We have all been those people. He talked about the wonderful things that are promised to those being blessed by God: heaven, comfort, satisfaction, mercy, the kingdom of heaven.

He talked about how we are all connected.

If I had heard the sermon two hours earlier, I hope I wouldn't have been distracted, or I would have turned to go back into the store to pick up some food for the woman.

My actions of the day reminded me of the words from the Confession of Sins: "Most merciful God, we confess that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. We have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves." (Emphasis mine)

When I say this, I always emphasize the words "by what we have left undone." It is a reminder to me that what I don't do is as important as what I do do.

I hope that next time I'll be less distracted and turn my inaction into action.

- Ann Warner

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