"Now why are you doing this?" (merchant on Cole Street after having had their sidewalk swept and powerwashed and their windows washed)
"I think that is so cool. I have never heard of a church doing this." (a barista at Starbucks)
"Sure you can have food. I know what it's like to be hungry." (neighborhood man when our young families group came to his door to collect food for the food bank)
Those are just some of the comments received from members of the community on Sunday when our church family went out to serve for our FAITH IN ACTION SUNDAY.
Some people did yard work at the Senior Center. Others wrote letters to soldiers in Iraq. Some took food to a campground where several homeless families are living. Some collected food, others bagged bulk food into smaller portions for the food bank. People wrapped presents for teen moms, some prayed in the sanctuary; one family went out and picked up trash in several of the city parks. In all over 200 people participated in this.
As we gathered for a send off service of prayer and singing, the sanctuary was alive with anticipation and excitement. One of our own members said that there was a feeling of electricity pulsing through the place. There were small children and many elderly members - all there together to affirm that we are a church without walls, a congregation that doesn't simply want to talk about serving, but wants to join in one heart to be a transformational influence on our community.
More than one of our own members was moved to tears at the thought of such a concerted effort to give up on weekend of worship services for ourselves so that we could go and serve in Jesus' name.
Despite some of the fears and apprehensions that people had, it turned out to be a great day. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 100:2 "Worship the Lord in gladness." Some of the translations have "serve the Lord in gladness." The truth is that serving is worship and worship is serving. A believer cannot worship without serving and vice versa. And that worship takes many different forms. Paul said "whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God the father through him." (Colossians 3:17)