Sunday we did something a little different.
September 29th was the 5th Sunday of the month and our Church decided to step out of the bounds of our “comfort zone” by choosing different ministry opportunities to actively participate in for that morning as our Worship.
Several Small Groups arranged to take part in ministering to the community by visiting with the elderly at a local rehabilitation facility, hosting a cook out and hymn singing for the handicap at a local rest home, and taking bagged lunches to downtown Charlotte to give to the homeless.
Our family was part of the group that ventured downtown.
On Saturday night, we had a good time preparing our bagged lunches and praying for those that would receive them as we sang songs of praise!
On Sunday morning, we all met up at the Church and prayed for our little mission.
The kids were so into this that the adults barely handed out any of the lunches! As soon as we would grab a bag, the kids swiped them right out of our hands.
We were guided in our endeavor by a gentleman named Gary… our Church pianist… who just happens to have lived homeless for 25 years.
In addition to helping lead us to areas where we could find those needing our help, Gary also took us to Urban Ministries, a place in Charlotte that is set up to help the homeless in the hopes that they can get back on their feet again.
He showed us a garden that he helped to start that not only provides the folks there with something productive to do, but it also helps feed them, gives them a sense of purpose, and encourages them.
He shared stories about the art there… from the inspirational paintings to the heart wrenching display of memorials set up in memory of those homeless people who died in the streets from exposure.
And here’s the thing…
In the past, I’ve thought those things that many of us think:
“Why don’t they just go get a job?”
“Why don’t they just go stay with family or friends?”
“Aren’t they just choosing to stay homeless?”
“Aren’t we making it too easy for them to just stay homeless?”
But in the time that Gary and some of his friends have been serving at our Church, and in being part of an experience like this, I’ve been reminded of several things that I think we all-too-often forget…
- “…all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” -Romans 3:23, ESV
- Any one of us could be homeless ourselves with just a couple of poor choices. (Even though most of us believe we’re above that…)
- We each battle our own demons, carry our own burdens, and are on individual journeys.
- Jesus clearly told us how we are to respond to our brothers and sisters along this way…
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” ~Matthew 25:34-40