Happy Elevated Friday! Today we highlight a story of one man making a big difference in a unique way. Ryan van Emmenis, a father and resident of Cheshire, England, has been taking daily walks with his young children each day during this quarantine as their source of exercise and fresh air. They often pass an old cemetery and upon seeing a friend of his’ plea for someone to help clean a family member’s headstone, Ryan volunteered to do it. After all, he runs a cleaning company professionally. Upon seeing the difference it made, Ryan and his children have made it a project each day to take 20 minutes out of their walk to clean another headstone. He is posting pictures of the results and getting a lot of praise for his work. Ryan said, “When a grave is dull and it’s got algae on it and you can’t read it, there’s nobody that seems to give it much time if they don’t know the person. Once you’ve cleaned up one of these graves, it’s really noticeable, which means people are stopping and taking a moment to read and remember these people.” Ryan is using his time and skills to serve an often overlooked and forgotten group, just as Jesus did, and truly making a difference in doing so.
Jesus’ — and thereby God’s — mission has always been to find the lost, forgotten, and marginalized, save them, and set them upon the path of righteousness and faith. In this time, there are so many people who are in need, and many of these groups are obvious. The mobilization of communities to help them has been awe-inspiring, but there are others on the periphery that are equally deserving and in need of help but are forgotten. Just as Jesus sought out lepers and outcasts of society, if we are seeking to make a difference in this time, think of who is the most neglected rather than just who is the most in need. Today, consider what groups or individual people you can help who have been a little lost in the shuffle in this trying time.
“When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean. Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.” — Matthew 8:1-4 NIV