Wandering Mind – Reaching Out Into the Community
We have become and are becoming more engaged with our community. It requires a lot of effort. It requires a lot of intentionality. It asks us to step out of our comfort zones. From hosting the Food Pantry, to the Thrift Shop, to S.O.S., to participating in city parades, to starting an Annual Block Party, it takes people who care about Christ, the Church, and the Community. It takes us being present, being visible, being accesible, and being engaged.
Now, the first concern is always most difficult. "[whatever the issue] is too big for us to tackle alone" More often than not this is a true statement. But, it also becomes a true excuse from acting. We, as First United Presbyterian Church, cannot fix the hunger problem in Collinsville. However, we can host the Food Pantry, which is the central means of providing for the community; we can host S.O.S. most Tuesday nights; we can participate in Meals on Wheels. While we do bear the significant burden of providing space for the Food Pantry, several churches and many in the community financially support and provide food to the Food Pantry. So many organizations and churches in the community support S.O.S. by providing meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays across three church buildings. And there are many providers for Meals on Wheels. So, yes, it is too big for us tackle on our own, but we can do and should do something. In our action others may find a place that they where they want to participate. In our actions churches and community groups may see the issue and how it is being addressed and want to join in or provide other outlets. Our small drop in the large pond can cause rippling waves that cover the whole.
The second concern is a bit more tricky. " [I/we] already do so much for the church and are busy with work and other organizations. I just don't have time." Ain't that the truth? The problem is that the Church was not given to us to serve us; the Church was given to us for us to serve the world. The very heart of the Church is its service to others in Christian love. The flow of the week has worship as its beginning and ending. We enter into worship drained from a long week of life, and in the presence of God we are refreshed through the Word and worship, and then are sent back out to the world with joyous energy to start the next week. The Church is a respite. Its worship services as the respite for the weary workers in the fields. Its life a respite for those whom have been overwhelmed by the world and need to find a place of refuge, comfort, grace, love, forgiveness, food, drink, clothes, community. The time asked of you is the time that God has provided, there is time, and there is energy.
Finally, the third concern is most difficult. "[I/we] just don't want to deal with those kind of people." Why is this the most difficult? It's because it is the very reality of Jesus to deal and interact with those people. Jesus spent his time in the places the religious would not go. Jesus talked with, touched, healed, listened to, cared for the ones placed on the fringes of community, the ones placed outside of the Temple and the synagogues, the very least of these. Why is this so difficult? It is because of the reality of Matthew 25 and Jesus' explanation of where he was/is. Jesus is the hungry, thirsty, hungry, naked, sick, imprisoned. Jesus is the poor, the outcast, the other, the those people.
We can have plenty of excuses, but we really should have only one answer: "We are the Church, and we are dedicated to the work of Jesus in the world."
Blessings on the journey,
The Outreach committee is gathering cleaning supplies for the Collinsville Food Pantry through the rest of June. Please bring in new household cleaning goods, such as laundry detergent, dish soap, Clorox wipes, Windex, and other items that you may prefer to use in your own home.
The Second Annual FUPC Block Party will be during the first week of August.
VBS this year is: To Mars and Beyond: Explore Where God's Power Can Take You! The kickoff is Sunday evening on July 21st and runs through Thursday July 25th in the evening. Invite your family, friends, neighbors, well...just about everyone you can think of. Of course, to really make this a success, we need your help. You can help in many ways by being a group leader, taking on a activity, participating in the skits, and oh so much more. If you think there isn't anything you can do, you are wrong. Contact the office and let us know you would like to help and we will find a great fit for you. This is a great opportunity to be intergenerational and have lasting meaningful interactions with the kids of our congregation and the community.