Genesis 12:1-4a (New Revised Standard Version)
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him…
On a usual weekend at my former church in Florida well over a thousand people attend one of the five worship services. But this weekend, all those services were cancelled. No Saturday service last night. No chapel service, no service in the Gym, none in the Sanctuary this Sunday morning.
That’s right. Church was cancelled.
What would make a church do such a crazy thing? It’s their annual SERVE.EVERYBODY. weekend. Instead of going to their regular worship services, people spread out across the community to actively demonstrate God’s love in practical ways. They reached out to the homeless in the city, offering hospitality, food, and haircuts. They gave a deep cleaning to a daycare center, created a butterfly garden at a local school, played bingo with nursing home residents. They pampered stressed out parents at a crisis housing center, wrote letters to soldiers overseas, painted parking lines at a thrift store, stocked shelves at a food pantry. All this– and more– in an effort to show people that God cares for them.
Christians across the world engage each day in serving people in need. It’s part of what Jesus commanded us to do when he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” A serving attitude is one of the most attractive features of a worshipping community. When my husband and I walked into a church in our new town, we saw a large toilet sitting in the lobby. No sign, no explanation. Our curiosity was piqued! We soon learned that the church is working with a village in Guatemala to install a sewage system for the community. We knew then that we were in the right place. This was a church that got it.
Our scripture reading today reminds us that when God chose Abram and his family to be the “Chosen People,” he was claiming them as his own, as his beloved children. Then God told Abram that God had chosen to bless them so that they could be a blessing to the world. The blessing was not for them to keep for themselves, but for them to share with everyone they met. The truly amazing thing is that God can– and does– use the people of the Christian community today to make real, lasting change around the world. And that was the plan all along!
What action can you take this week to show someone God’s love in a way they can understand?