Bill is here each week, greeting children and adults who happen to walk in on Monday mornings. On Tuesday, Dave sits out in the church Narthex and greets all of the children with a smile and a puppet. Kay answers phones in the church office on Monday afternoons and while accomplishing her task — disassembling the worship flowers from Sunday and rearranges them to be taken to the homes of shut-ins. Sue and Ann spend about 45 minutes each week putting cards and pencils in the pews so that worshippers can write down that they need a minister to come and pray with them. Don arrives on Saturdays and makes the coffee so that visitors can awaken to their faith through a warm, tasty beverage.
Our choir recently took up a collection for some hymnals. Some of our church members were helping out at a local adult care facility. A retired Methodist preacher brings the sermon and our people take care of the music — some playing the piano and some leading the hymns. We raised enough money to provide them with hymnals so that those persons who are unable to travel to worship can do so from their wheel chairs, walkers and hospital beds.
One of our church members was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer. We were able to connect him to another church volunteer who had been diagnosed over 13 years ago. The two men didn’t know each other at all but shared some interests beyond just a disease. It will be amazing to watch how this faith relationship develops for these two powerful, humble men.
These are but a few examples of the spirit of ministry around the church. While many of these seem to focus on what happens inside the building, there are many examples of things that happen outside the walls, too. Simple, focused, prayerful and ready to take the next step in the name of Christ.
Think it is about old people?
Many of our church members and friends have gone over to a local elementary school, where they are reading buddies for children. The school has a high percentage of lower-income students whose parents are just making ends meet. Often, the parents don’t speak english or don’t have time to do so. Our folks help these children comprehend and hear english spoken to them by simply reading the words on a printed page.
Think that you can be a spiritual person and not have community? Nope. It doesn’t work that way. Not at all. Of course you can be a good person and do good things. But a strong faith community connects you to the need of others — not just your own. Like the two folks I spoke of earlier, if they hadn’t been connected to a faith community, they couldn’t help each other through a difficult and dreaded disease.
Sure, you can give money to a relief fund or donate on the internet. Noble. Needed. Necessary. But that doesn’t get your prayer hands dirty.
I should add it is possible to attend and not be in community. If all you do is show up on a Sunday, write a check and then head out the door to beat the others to lunch, you will have missed the point, too. Get into the whole experience — pray, sing in a choir, read the scripture, teach a class, swing a hammer, pack a prayer basket, knit a prayer shawl — you and your family will by MUCH better for it, and so will the kingdom.
So, get in a faith relationship with others. That’s what God said. Love him (worship) and serve him (work in community.) And, if you come here, you can do it with the help of a warm, tasty beverage.