"Well, I am NOT becoming a Presbyterian, that's for sure!"
Such was the feisty retort I received when I first met Gertrude and asked what she was going to do after her century-and-a-half-old Lutheran church closes its doors. Their congregation has aged and diminished in size, so they will soon hand over the reins to our recent (Presbyterian) church plant, with whom they have been sharing space for a couple years now.
Since that first encounter with Gert, there have been many more, all confirming that spunky spirit as an indelible feature of her personality. Each Monday morning I head into south city to help harvest any ripe produce from the church's garden, and to assist with their neighborhood food pantry. And 90-year-old Gert is there...every time...without fail...as she has been for decades now. People, years, and methodologies have come and gone, but she remains steadfast.
When I grow up, I want to be like Gert. She isn't stunning. Or well-dressed. Or eloquent. In fact, she's a bit of a tough old bird who leaves the impression that she can still endure anything and tackle anything...including YOU! But she is also a strong-hearted, able-bodied, faithful servant who spends 5 days a week at the church serving in one capacity or another...simple service that will probably remain largely unnoticed until she is no longer there to do it.
I give thanks to God for Gertrude's life and example.