Christopher Warrington, MDiv
And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
In my letter last month, I talked about how the Church is being unleashed in the midst of these unprecedented times. One of the many ways that we are seeing this is by the people within various church congregations stepping out and serving their communities.
- Healthcare workers parking lot prayer (Fort Wayne and other cities)
- Small Groups in Indianapolis' Traders Point Community Church have opened their homes and invited neighbors for socially distanced worship and church services, and have socially distanced baptism ceremonies
- Seattle area church, Magnolia United Church of Christ - Raising funds for foodbanks and gardening projects for low income areas
Given the ongoing health crisis, the sense of "we'll get through this together" is stronger than ever. What better way for the Church to come together than by serving the communities in which we reside? But, this isn't the first time that we have needed to bond together as a people. Many things over the decades since I have been alive, let alone since this country's birth, have forced our society to bond together in the midst of tragedy. Today is the 19th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York and surrounding areas which left thousands dead. For those of us old enough to remember, we are able to recall when three planes collided with the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the devastation that it caused. But, do you also remember how quick first responders were to get there to help? Do you remember how quick the country rallied together to help those in need?
Within the lifetime of our organization, what we are currently going through is not the first devasting event we have weathered and come together with churches to help those in need. Within two months of us receiving our non-profit status, the Boston Marathon was bombed. We had no recognized track record, nor working email list, yet we raised over a thousand dollars to help serve those affected in the Boston area; one of many organizations and countless thousands who rushed to the aid of those in need.
Stepping out and helping those in need is not foreign to us as a nation, but it is so easy to forget that help is always needed – not just in times of heightened turmoil.
This month I wish to challenge each of you reading this post to find a way to step out and serve the communities you live in. Talk to your church leadership about doing something to help those in need. Better yet, talk with multiple churches in your area and get a community outreach going for people in need, crossing denominational boundaries and being the Body of Christ to those around you.
But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.
He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.
And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’
If you need assistance in knowing where to start, reach out to us! We are here to help. You can also check out one of our community projects, Samaritan Bags for ideas. We have just rebranded this project and launched a new site to help people put on packing events to pack bags for the homeless. These bags do not have to be just for the homeless – they can be for anyone in need.
The parable of the Good Samaritan from the Gospel of Luke was about helping your neighbor. That particular neighbor in need was someone beaten, robbed and left for dead. But, we do not need to wait for that type of scenario to present itself to us; nor do we need to wait for national emergencies or acts of terrorism to get out there and help our neighbor and serve our communities. Can we look to those around us in need of help, and offer help even if it may be a little inconvenient for us? Can we be the hands and feet and eyes and ears and mouth of Jesus to a hurting world? In short, can we be the Body of Christ?
A prayer of remembrance
Lord, we pray now on this day of rememberance. We pray for those that lost loved ones 19 years ago. We pray for those that still feel deeply the loss experienced that day. And we pray for our first responders that are still here protecting and caring for us. Please give them safety and please give comfort to those affected by the terrorist attack 19 years ago. We remember and we pray now for your presence. Amen.