(EDITOR'S NOTE: Faith Matters is a column written by the social concerns committee of the United Churches of Lycoming County. The monthly feature will include local faith-based comment on significant social issues facing us today. Letters reacting to the columns should be brief and clear and may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Opinions expressed in the columns are those of the writers and the social concerns committee, not necessarily the Sun-Gazette.)
Williamsport is my hometown. I've lived in Lycoming County all my life; and am pleased many of you love this place and choose to live in this region, too. All of us are proud of our history and the beauty of nature that surrounds us.
God chose to begin our days with a beautiful sunrise. Light could have just happened every morning, I imagine, like flipping a switch. But God must have wanted those of us who enjoy early morning to have something to smile about. Seeing a spectacular sunrise makes me want to do something special with my day.
My grandfather had a strict code about how he did things. It was never enough to just get something done. No matter what it was, it needed to be done right. He was an inspector at a factory in town, Spencer Heater, which made coal furnaces. He signed off on each furnace saying it was made well and was in working order. He was proud of that furnace and willing to put his name on the line.
My grandmother was proud of the outfits she made. We should have had some tags that read "made by Dorothy." Dad loved to bake bread and often gave loaves as gifts. Those bags of bread should have had a sticker that told you they were made by Bert. God doesn't sign those sunrises either but we know who makes each one.
It is important to do everything in life as if you are going to put a tag on it that says you did it, so everyone will know for years to come.
The dinners you take to someone shows your love for your neighbor.
The letter of thanks to a special person in your life makes the receiver feel good and becomes an Ebenezer, a marking of God's grace and mercy in their lives.
The work you complete, allows you to hone skills and responsibility.
Those encouraging words will ring in someone's ears forever. They will speak them to their children and to their children's children.
The unkind words you bite back, refusing to hurt another's feelings, may never be appreciated by others, but you'll rejoice because you can never take back an unkind word once it's spoken.
The trash you pick up on your stroll shows care for God's creation.
Your attendance at someone's concert or play tells that person they are important, because you have given the gift of your time.
Your keeping to the speed limit, not fudging on your taxes, refusing to pass on gossip, or accepting responsibility for your errors, teaches how important honesty and integrity are in our world today.
Our faith calls us to be grateful for each day, to accept the things we must do, choose the rest, and do our best. Life always is worth living, even if you miss the sunrise. God has made each day and we are to rejoice and be glad in it.
- Bernstine is the executive director of United Churches of Lycoming County.