As I write my letter this month, David and I are busy putting the finishing touches on our mission trip plans. Sunday, February 1st, bright and early, we will join 20 other folks from the Pennsylvania Southeast Conference for a week of rebuilding homes in New Orleans.
It IS taking us some time to make sure that we are properly prepared for this trip ~ gathering the proper IDs, printing out boarding passes and making sure that our suitcases do NOT exceed the stipulated size and weight limits. The one bright spot has been in getting our work clothes ~ because it gives us the perfect excuse to “weed out” those ratty old t-shirts that we just haven’t had the heart to throw away!
My husband, Dave, is an experienced carpenter and electrician. My skills definitely fall into the “good with a hammer, saw and paint brush” category. But we are both very excited about the opportunity to work in an area that is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina and, more importantly, reaching out in Christian fellowship to the residents of New Orleans.
One of the scriptures that our group shared in preparation for our trip came from the Gospel of Luke and the very familiar story of the feeding of the 5,000. As the day wore on, the disciples came to Jesus, suggesting that He send the crowds away so they could find food and lodging for themselves. And Jesus calmly replied, “”No! YOU feed them!” (Luke 9:12-17) I have been pondering those words ~ “You feed them” ~ ever since.
Think of the many ways that we “feed” each other. Obviously, there are the physical meals that we share together … which, in the church, also include our times of fellowship after worship. In the scripture from Luke, Jesus physically fed that huge crowd with a simple meal of bread and fish. But He also nourished their souls and spirits with the gift of His teaching and fellowship and presence.
As Christians ~ that is, as followers of Jesus ~ are we not called to do exactly the same? And so I think about how …
- Every time we invite a friend to join us in
worship, we offer the spiritual food of a deeper connection with God.
- Every time we invite others to our table, we
offer the spiritual food of hospitality and
welcome in Christ’s name.
- Every time we visit a neighbor or home-bound member or the newest resident
in the neighborhood, we are offering the spiritual food of Christian friendship.
- And every time we speak words of concern and kindness ~ whether via phone or
even a brief note ~ we are offering the spiritual food of Christian love.
In just a few weeks, we will enter the season of Lent ~ a season of reflection, repentance and recommitment to our Lord who offers life and love unconditionally … and who challenges us to “feed” others. May the up-coming Holy Season be a time of looking deep within ourselves and seeking new ways to “feed” each other ~ in Christ’s love.