Yesterday was Resurrection’s annual Faith-in-Action day, where over 200 members of the congregation served in a dozen different venues. It is a great tradition that reflects our congregation’s mission to Trust, Live and SERVE. Last year I was inspired to write about it here.
Yesterday was full of Holy Spirit energy. Children assembled Birthday Bags for the local food shelf, the puppet team preformed at a homeless shelter, and adults worked on a home damaged by last summer’s tornado. Families were encouraged to work together so that the children could learn from their parents the value of service.
Several of us went to Woodbury Health Care Center to entertain and interact with the residents. I chose the Care Center because my mom recently became a resident there and I wanted her to meet some of the congregation. Several of our talented youth and adults played piano or lead singing as together we worked to bring the joy of Jesus Christ into their lives. Naturally many of them brought joy to our hearts as they affirmed our ministry together.
Service is not restricted to one day of the year. We serve in our daily life. When my mother was living in a nearby assisted living facility she was visited by one of our high school student who brought her dog along on Sunday afternoon visits. The two were a big hit with the residents.
Volunteer service is a vital part of our community life together. Most assisted living facilities and care centers have well-trained and committed staff who invest their lives in caring for our growing senior population. The staff often works long hours with frail people who are often forgotten by society. Serving alongside these professional evoked a sense of gratitude and awe at their daily ministry of caring for our aging parents and grandparents.
Community service helps us connect with segments of society that many of us ignore or forget: the 3M manager who helps stock the local foodshelf, the medical device sales representative who sings for a senior center, or the bank executive who pounds nails at a Habitat for Humanity work site. Jesus calls us to move outside our “normal” areas of influence and control so that we can discover a different slice of the American life. Service is not simply a band-aid on society’s ills; it can be an opportunity for education and inspiration for real transformative change. We are changed as we serve. Our smiles can grow into the deeper conviction for justice and righteousness.
Lord Jesus, teach me to serve as you have served me.
I’m really glad you say that service is more than one day a year. I feel like so often suburban churches have a “day of service” every year, and then congregants feel like they’ve done their duty for the year and go back to their residentially (or generationally) segregated lives. I definitely agree that service can and should be a way of life more than anything else, something that needs to be made an intentional part of following in Christ’s footsteps. I would love to read a blog post about the ways people in your congregation serve on a regular basis. Miss you all.
Christina, We have started an ongoing partnership with CURE (Christian Urban Resources/Evangelism) Ministries and Michael Barrett, St. Paul Site Director spoke on Sunday at Resurrection. We are going once a month (some volunteer more often) to a congregation on the east side of St. Paul where a meal and urban ministry is ongoing. http://www.cureministries.org