I tend to keep my writing neutral and focused on one love and not religion, so not to separate us into categories of believers and non-believers. I believe that we are all more alike than we are different and that our belief systems should not separate our oneness. We may choose different paths for living moral lives and we are all coexisting and expressing love in different ways, which is a beautiful process.
We are members of an active, loving, community building church. Our motto is rooted in Christ, reaching out in love. Our faith is actionable and I want to share a story about how our church family is helping the homeless.
We have a mid-week program for 2nd through 6th graders, who come to church every week for 2+ hours and share fellowship, bible study, a meal, prayer, and an activity, all run by volunteers, even the cooking dinner part. It’s amazing to be part of and to witness.
Last week, our activity was filling brown, paper lunch bags with items that we can give to the homeless in our community. We had stations where the kids were writing cards, preparing muffins to be baked, decorating the outside of the bags, and then one to fill the bags.
One of the love notes looked like this:
Inside the bags, the kids placed a rain poncho, a can of vienna sausages, instant oatmeal packets, squeezable applesauce packets, a fruit bar, and a love note.
They filled over 160 bags. As they left for the evening, each kid was told they could take 3+ bags home with them and they were told to keep them in their cars and to hand them out with their parents to those in our community who were in need.
Charlie was very excited for this event and couldn’t wait to be able to find his first person to help. While he was coming home from his soccer game this weekend, a homeless person was pandering for money at the intersection. Charlie told his dad that he had to stop and give the man one of his H20 – Help To Others bags. Jeff was confused at first, because he didn’t realize that Charlie had been prepared to serve others right there and then. Charlie was insistent that Jeff open his window and give it to the man standing nearby before the light changed and he missed his opportunity.
Jeff told the man that he had a care package for him and asked if he would like to have it. The man agreed and was very thankful for the gift and connection. Charlie watched and felt content. The two of them talked about their experience the rest of the way home and Jeff praised Charlie for his persistence and active interest in following through and helping the man, standing in the cold.
Sometimes sharing my faith makes me uncomfortable because I don’t want to leave anyone out or have anyone with different beliefs than mine to feel disinterested because it’s a discussion about something they don’t believe in. The root is still the same and that is the connection I hope you find, whether you’re Christian, Atheist, Buddhist, Jewish, Muslim, or other. We are all rooted in love. One love.
I shared this story because I wanted you to see faith in action. I want you to see the good that churches provide a place for people to gather and to create good deeds and to make our communities a little bit better. We are teaching our children compassion, to be giving, and to help others. I’m sure you are too, perhaps in similar ways and different ways too. This is just one of the many ways that connect us to love and to serve each other.
Do you have a story to share about helping others, big or small?