During the Nazi occupation of Paris, a burly storm trooper stepped onto a subway car and tripped headlong over the umbrella of a little old lady sitting next to the door. After picking himself up, the bruised Nazi launched into a tirade of abuse, then bolted from the car at the next station.
When he was gone, the passengers burst into spontaneous applause for the little old woman. “I know it isn’t much,” she said, graciously accepting the compliments, “but he’s the sixth one I’ve brought down today.”
I like this story. I like the courage of the little old woman, and her sense that small actions matter – that they add up. I hope you are never in a position where you have to face an occupying army. But, in the face of injustice, poverty and hopelessness everywhere, may you remember that every small action counts. Every smile, every dollar, every visit, every letter written, every nail banged for Habitat or lunch served in the soup kitchen adds up. They make a difference.
Our prayer today was written by William Temple in the early 1900s. Let us pray: Almighty and eternal God, so draw our hearts to you, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly yours, utterly dedicated unto you; and then use us, we pray, as you will, but always to your glory and the welfare of your people, through our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen