“Veggies give wedgies”… “Soy is Joy”… “Rice is Nice”…
Around the circle we went. Open the bag, add the vitamins, then a child poured dried vegetables into the funnel, ground soy and rice followed. With each child’s contribution we called out a rhyme. It took awhile to rhyme vegetables and we tried different variations. “Rice brings lice” started a conversation, as Phoebe’s friend announced she once had lice. Of course we have had lice too1… As our bags filled we took them to another table to be weighed, sealed, then boxed. Every so often the gong rang – 1000 meals. And by the end of Sunday worship over 10,000 meals were ready to be shipped overseas. This is what Serve Sunday is all about.
1 Lice not from rice, but from our stay at the Bates Motel for my brother’s wedding…
My pastor in Georgia shared a NY Times Editorial, The Bad Faith of the White Working Class. In the article JD Vance praises the blessing of church community, but he laments that church involvement has declined. He ties this decline to the church’s lost mission, as politics and fears have driven our message rather than “For God so loved the world…” The article’s final line reads: “Yet the white working class needs neither more finger-pointing nor more fiery sermons. What it needs is the same thing I needed many years ago: a reassurance that God does indeed love us, and a church that demonstrates that love to a broken community.”
On Serve Sunday I do preach, but it is only a few minutes and leads into instructions for the projects. I spoke from John 4 (“there is no fear in love”) and then remarked, “but you are not here to listen to me preach. You are ready to go out and serve.” Phoebe from the front row shouted “YES!” and it was the most truth spoken.
There were many projects on Serve Sunday, one repaired a local neighborhood playground. Another took cookies to emergency responders. My family worked to send food all over the world and Stop Hunger Now.
There is a hunger in our church – in our world – to be loved. To know that we are loved. As the church if we want to stop this hunger we must cease enabling the fear that someone is out to get us, that the world is trying to pull us and everything into Hell. If Christ is real, if resurrection is real – there is nothing to fear. Instead there is everything and everyone to embrace. By the love of Christ we are satisfied and this love overflows to feed others. Which is why our church cheers my silence – so the worship of Serve Sunday can begin and God’s love is shared.
John 4:34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.”
The world is full of hunger. Sometimes spiritual, but often literal. My good friend, Jeremy Courtney, is serving in Iraq with Preemptive Love. He just sent an email about the situation in Fallujah. He writes, “The human suffering surrounding us in Fallujah, Iraq is overwhelming. More than 27,000 people have escaped ISIS and landed in our lap in the last 72 hours. It is a massive amount of people who suddenly don’t have homes, are traumatized by ISIS violence, and need everything… In 4 1/2 years covering Syria and Iraq I’ve never seen conditions this bad. No tents. No water. No words.”
On Sunday we will take up a special offering for the ministry of Preemptive Love. Or you can click here and go to their website to send aid now.