Earlier this month, I met with a group of other creatives, people who are artists, musicians, writers, and thinkers. We made an attempt to define the word beauty, as well as how to go about creating something beautiful.

The best explanation we could find of the word beauty was to pay attention to the pleasing quality of the object. Pleasure comes through the form, the color, appearance, or features the object might possess. The two words quality and pleasure helped our group better understand the nature of beauty.

For the past 50 years, the Lord has been creating something beautiful in our communities. The vision of a handful of parents who wanted to provide a quality education for their children with special needs planted the seeds for a lasting and fruitful ministry.

It has grown right here among us through donations of land and money, volunteer service, relationship, and faithfulness. As far as quality goes in defining what is beautiful, the care people supported by COC receive is the best example that can be found. Each staff person is an artist in their own way meeting the physical needs and assisting in relational and emotional support of people with disabilities.

The mission and values of COC as an organization brings the Lord much pleasure. All of his children are made in his image. When we as a community take seriously the call from Matthew 25 to provide food and drink, offer hospitality, care, and friendship, God is pleased. He doesn’t restrain from pouring blessing out on people who serve him in sincerity of heart.

We just recently completed two of our three annual staff retreats. As I was reflecting on the message of this year’s speaker and this historic anniversary, I felt a sense of overwhelming gratitude for COC. The best words I can assign to that feeling is this: Thank you, COC, for being you.

Your history, your values, and your ministry are beautiful.

Your compassion and unmatched quality of service are beautiful.

The celebration of 50 years as a testament to God’s faithfulness is beautiful.

The equality we shared on Tuesday night at the college, enjoying a meal together, seated side by side as brothers and sisters in Christ is beautiful. It’s a picture of the Kingdom of God at its finest.

Thank you for making a difference in the lives of so many.

Here is a favorite prayer of mine, taken from the Book of Common Prayer and offered over COC:

Visit this place, O Lord, and drive far from it all snares of the enemy. Let your holy angels dwell with us to preserve us in peace, and let your blessing be upon us always, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.