It's such a long time since I posted anything here, you'd think I'd abandoned it! Well, no - just that I've been busy of late and getting to grips with settling into a new church community. After moving to a new congregation I'm taking time to consider what God actually is moving me towards doing; it is all too easy to jump in and get over-involved, so I'm taking baby-steps and praying it over.
Something I came across recently concerned faith and action. It was a quote in a magazine: "Don't tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions." (Steve Maraboli 'Life, Truth and Being Free.')
For a long time, I've been feeling a 'call' towards practical Christianity - 'walking the walk' rather than just doing the talking! Now, at last, I'm hoping to start volunteering with a homeless project here in my home town. Having revisited my financial commitments to various charities here and abroad, earlier this year, I was challenged about actually 'getting my hands dirty' - something that was brought home to me at a bible-study group discussion last night. On the subject of the parable of the Good Samaritan, we were prompted to think about the costs of 'not walking on by' (financial, personal time, safety-risk) and who exactly is our neighbour?
Last Sunday was our Harvest Service and we were encourage to bring produce to be distributed locally via the Foodbank. Not so many years ago, Harvest Festival produce was inevitably 'dumped' on the nearest old folks home, etc. (Believe me, having worked in such establishments, we were the recipients of crates of odd vegetables, left anonymously on the back doorstep; there comes a limit to how many pounds of stewed apples you can use!)
For a number of years at our previous church we were encouraged to join the 'Harvest for the Hungry' organisation and send food parcels to impoverished Eastern European communities. Later that morphed into simply giving financial aid to the project, to save expense on shipping/haulage and also to stimulate the local economy by purchasing food in situ.
Now, however, with the worldwide recession hitting the more well-off nations we find ourselves actively involved in supporting our immediate neighbours - this seems to me to be exactly what Jesus was getting at!
I've often thought about the old 'digging a well in Africa' hands-on approach to dealing with need in communities but assumed all I could realistically do was give financial support. Now, I realise that same 'hands-on' aspect is actually available right on my own doorstep - and I can no longer just 'walk on by'.
Let's hope we can all play our part in ensuring the necessities of life are shared out with everyone - and let us imitate Christ in His compassion for ALL people and of course, remember that what we do for others, we do it as if for Him:
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
‘Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison and go to visit you?”
‘The King will reply, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matt. 25:35-40 NIV)