The Call

Holy Father,
through Jesus Christ,
You call us to follow and to make disciples
despite the fact that we are sinners;
unqualified.
But You qualify the unqualified;
sending us out to do important work;
announcing that the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Oh God,
may we remember
that it’s not about our abilities or knowledge
but rather about Your Spirit giving us what we need.
May we never disqualify ourselves
but rather trust in You,
who qualifies the unqualified,
and that all quality is of Your doing.
And through the quality of Your work in and through us,
may the quantity grow to Your glory.
In Jesus name we pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Doughnut holes

Today I helped serve doughnut holes.  It was nothing fancy just some regular, sugar and powered sugar doughnut holes.

There was also juice and coffee…and a Kleenex or two (which came in handy).

So what was the occasion?

Today was the first day of school for the Jackson County Central school district.  And we served doughnut holes.

Why?

You see…Riverside Elementary School is right next door to Salem Lutheran Church and the most convenient way that parents can drop off/pick up their kids is via the church parking lot.  Late August through mid-May; five days a week; and twice a day; dozens of cars (lots and lots of people) are coming to our property.  So I challenged the church council last week.

And they stepped forward.

We (Salem members) set up camp in the church parking lot by the sidewalk that leads to the school.  And there were the doughnut holes (and the juice and the coffee).  And…a box of Kleenex (parents…you can probably figure out why).

We welcomed kids and parents with a cheerful smile and a invitation to enjoy a doughnut hole and a beverage before school.
Some happily accepted.
Some didn’t know what to think of us.
Some declined and wished they hadn’t just eaten.
Some wished they hadn’t just stopped for coffee.

And…many smiles were seen.

All in all it was a good morning.  But none of this had anything to do with us.  It was all for the glory of God; to share the love of Christ with people in a practical way.  I know it may sound like I am tooting our own horn here but that’s not what I am doing.  I want to encourage others out there to find creative ways (as this church council did) in sharing the love of Christ with their communities.  After all…being the Church is about going out into the world and telling people about God’s love through Jesus Christ.

We didn’t preach sermons this morning, we just served doughnut holes….with a smile.  Most people can do that without getting too nervous.

How is God calling you to serve in your community?
How is God calling you to share the love of Christ in a practical way?

-edh-

Serving at The Banquet

This afternoon we make our annual “pilgrimage” to The Banquet in Sioux Falls, SD to serve supper (see The Banquet for more information on this ministry). Salem, Belmont and Bethany Lutheran Churches bring about 35 to 40 people to serve supper for people who are homeless or just need a hot meal.  When I called last week to plan the meal I was told that The Banquet is expecting to serve about 500 people that day (numbers have been up from previous years).  In the past we have served 465, 421, 363, 396 people.  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the increase of people needing a hot meal considering the economy.

But as I think about making the necessary preparations to bring this group to Sioux Falls I find myself looking at our Gospel text for Sunday from Mark 12:38-44 (“The widow’s offering”).  Scripture commands us to care for the alien, the widow and the orphans.  Now I am not calling The Banquet guest “aliens” or anything of the sort, but they are people we are called (and commanded) to care for.  I mean…for the most part we live lives of abundance.  You have food in your refrigerator and you probably have a good idea where lunch and supper is coming from.  You probably even know what you are going to eat at those meals.  For the guests that utilize The Banquet for the livelihood, they don’t know…they don’t even know for sure if they can even get in to have a hot meal.  It depends if they get in line soon enough and the number of people there.  There are so many questions for those guests, but not so much for us.

A friend of mine has told me that they get frustrated with themselves because they feel they don’t do enough for others.  But maybe, just maybe, the poor widow from Mark 12 can teach us something:  It’s not the amount but the sacrifice.

I am looking forward to tonight; looking forward to what God is going to do through each of us…for His glory.

Praise be to God!

-edh-

My blogging call

Wow…it’s been just over a week since I showed up here.  This has been one of my longest blogging droughts since I started blogging just over 2 years ago.  I am not sure what it is…

Maybe a little writer’s block.
Maybe a little busyness with a few funerals on top of everything else.
Maybe it was me just needing a little break to re-evaluate my call to this blog.

It seems strange to talk about blogging as a call, but I truly believe it is a call.  It’s a call just like anything else…

Being called to be a teacher.
Being called to be a doctor.
Being called to be a garbage collector.
Being called to be a parent.

Not everyone has the desire to write about stuff going on in their little world.  I believe I have been called to this unique ministry and the call is still there.  Sometimes we need to go through periods of time when we test our call; when we question if this is what we are supposed to do.  And if we are truly called to a certain vocation, God will affirm His desire to use you in that vocation.  I am not sure what God’s plan is for me, but I am going to continue to listen and see what that is.

In the mean time…I will continue to write and throw ideas, thoughts and pondering out to you.  I will continue to invite you to comment and share your ideas.  I will continue to be challenged through reading other blogs (which I have been doing through this “drought”).

So with that I need to run and get ready for tonight (Wednesday).  Tonight I am taking a group of 30 people to Sioux Falls to serve at The Banquet; a feeding ministry in Sioux Falls, SD.  I am guessing I will be sharing my experience later on.  But in the mean time you can check out the following links.  One is the website for The Banquet and the other two are previous posts that I have written about experiences at The Banquet…so enjoy and I will see you all very soon.

The Banquet
Website for The Banquet.

The Banquet
This is a blog post I wrote in 2006.

Feelings I won’t describe
This is a blog post I wrote in 2007.

Take care and God bless.

-edh-