Hard to believe that it has been over 24 hours since we were at worship with over 37,000 other people. What an experience! To think that we all had communion together. What a fitting end to an amazing youth gathering.
The ELCA's Presiding Bishop, Mark Hanson, was the preacher and presider for the service. At the beginning of worship, he told us that the night before Mayor Nagin had told him that Nagin wished the whole city of New Orleans could have been asked to gather at the Dome with us. You see, the Dome has been a place of bad memories, a place where unhealthy things happened during and after Hurrican Katrina. But when he saw the enthusiasm, love, and happiness of those in the Dome on Saturday night, he knew that if the residents of the city could see and hear that, they might be healed. After telling us this story, Bishop Hanson prayed for the healing of the city of New Orleans, along with prayers for those of us there, that we might continue in service in our home cities and that we might be granted safe travel.
Bishop Hanson's sermon centered on the promises of God in baptism: that we are loved and belong to God forever. Every day when we wash our faces, when we look in the mirror, we can say "I am baptized." What we have done as a result of being baptized is phenomenal: the Change4Change offering for the World Hunger Appeal was at $129,591.93 as the service was about to begin, with over $7000 more in the red bucket in the Dome itself. The work that 36,000+ people did in 3 days would have taken 1 person, working 4 hours a day and 7 days a week, about 98.5 years!!!! THAT was awesome!
So I ask you, as you go about your daily work: What can you do to make a difference in 1 person's life? The power of 1 is compelling. Our "power of one" moment took place after the Bishop's prayer for the healing of New Orleans - we did (possibly) the world's largest wave! It started with one person at the front bending down while saying and continuing to say 'Jesus'. When it got to the top of the highest balcony, they stood up with arms raised high and began saying 'Justice' over and over. The sound as 'Jesus' resounded through the hall, then as both words came over us, and finally as only'Justice' was heard was unlike anything I had heard before. With that many people, the sound literally washes over you!
Let's all think of one thing we can do each day that will impact the life of at least one other person -- and then let's put that thought into action! Then we can talk later....