This Thanksgiving holiday I was finding myself clearing a Thanksgiving Day blanket of snow from the front walk of our church. Wanting to get a bit warm I went inside. There I saw a couple of ladies who had been setting up about a dozen or so round tables, cloths, centerpieces, place settings etc. Why was this all going on? What would compel two ladies with families, as well as the other expected volunteers, to come in, work and give up precious hours on Thanksgiving day? Well in the words of Connie (one of the ladies) it's simple. As she walked by me setting some things up she said, "This is my idea of going to church".
This activity was one of the most recent accounts of unselfishness I've seen in a while. These people were setting up and throwing a Thanksgiving Day feast for truckers who are not able to be home for this holiday. The holidays are an ironic time of year. In Christian speak we say things like, "It's a time for giving and sharing" or, "It's a time to remember those who are less fortunate and be thankful for what you have." That's all true and great but for the most part, it's always said and never actually done! How many of us actually find ourselves imersed in a private or organized effort to give and share? Well, a lot of us do it once a year. That's not a bad thing.
The striking thing about the lady's idea of going to church, ie. serving people a meal that they otherwise wouldn't get, is exactly what the teachings of Christianity tell us to do. Jesus was constantly eating with his disciples and providing food for the thousands who followed him to hear him. In James 1:27 it says, "Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us." Taking care of people without family is what it's all about. In Mark 12:30 Jesus said to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and also to love your neighbor as yourself.
So, to the ladies who gave up time with family and friends to provide a meal for and be with some people who had no family or friends around them, I salute you! Thank God for people who don't want to just go to church, but rather, want to BE the Church. And thanks also for reminding all of us that we really can do more...when we realize it doesn't always have to be about us.