I spent the past week with 26 teens and various adult leaders/volunteers being on mission in our community. It was a rewarding week and one that I will remember for several reasons:
- God provided our needs just as we needed them since an awareness of needs regarding transportation and water presented themselves over the course of the week. Thank you, God, for answering prayers!
- Having the mission team from St. Luke and St. Peter in St. Cloud with us was a wonderful addition to our week. We bonded with them and the ways that God is manifest in them both individually and as a team made an impact on us.
- The kinship in Christ that we share deepened over the course of the week, and for that I am extremely grateful.
- We were visited by Mike Beam from St. Michael's in Orlando and he brought a sermon about the difference that one person can make. His 3-year-old daughter is living testimony to that fact.
- We shared Holy Communion together on the youth floor with Bishop Greg Brewer. It was an enriching experience. I coached a rising 6th grader from the other team to lead prayers of the people for the first time and he did a wonderful job.
- Stephanie, Sophia, and Christian Paul got to spend many hours with us in mission activities and times of fun, fellowship, and devotion. It was fabulous!
- We volunteered/ministered at 11 different ministries/locations in Lakeland.
- We didn't want to see it come to an end. :)
What happens next?...
As I was getting back to one of my devotional books this morning called The One Jesus Loves by Robert Crosby, I found that many of the themes of this past week were evident as I was reading. Crosby wrote about the feeding of the five thousand and that God's Bread gives life to the world; those were themes during our Eucharist service with Bishop Brewer. Crosby wrote that Christ followers have open eyes and open souls; those were discussions we had during our times of devotion when we talked about the parable of the Good Samaritan and how to be aware of the needs around us. Crosby wrote about what it means to be the seventy who follow Jesus and go out to serve and minister in his name; that was our modus operandi this past week. The next step (and I would add life-long step) that Crosby suggested is to "discover we are not just called to do something but to do it for Someone." He shared the scripture passage from Matthew 22:36-39 (which connects with the parable of the Good Samaritan): "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" He concludes his thought with the following statement: "Loving is the goal; serving is a means of fulfilling the goal."
Let us continue to strive toward loving God with all that we are. Thanks be to God for opportunities to serve others to teach us what true love looks like.