If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry, and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday. The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your needs in parched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. Your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in. (Isaiah 58:9b-12)
As we began our Lenten journey together, we heard from Isaiah about false and true worship. Like so many other places in scripture, we were reminded that our Lord doesn’t want shallow words and empty works, he longs for our hearts. Jesus desires for us to join him in ushering in the Kingdom of God with its peace, justice and mercy offered to all. For in living out the gospel in relationship with others, we will encounter the risen Christ in our lives and the lives of those we serve.
Over recent weeks, I have tried to share with our congregation members many diverse opportunities for service within our congregation and the greater community. These can become part of our Lenten disciplines and offerings of love to our Lord.
It doesn’t matter if the opportunities to serve are directly related to church or not. Whenever as a believer we do something in love of God or neighbor, we can be sure that Christ is there. Often, our preexisting passions and gifts intersect our sacred call to service. Just as each of us have unique gifts, there exist endless ways to share the love that we have already received from God.
Never doubt that even the smallest actions done in love can become part of Christ’s greater mission. At a recent meeting of Hanover Habitat for Humanity supporters, I heard a participant family share about their experiences. The single mother shared her frustration and circumstances prior to becoming a home recipient, but she also spoke with great love about all the many people who inspired her throughout the process. Through her contacts with each and every one, she had come to understand how Christ was reaching out to her to heal her life and change her lot, not just provide her a home.
This Lenten journey and beyond, I encourage all of us to share our gifts abundantly. Discern what actions you can take in faith, both big and small, that might be used by God to help break into someone’s darkness and struggle.
Make no mistake. Each of us are called to something, we only need discern what it might be. God has created all of us as a blessing to the world, and as we seek to build up one another in love, we, too, shall be called blessed.
The above pastoral letter was originally published in Messiah Lutheran Church and School’s newsletter, The Messenger (March 2012 edition). To view the entire issue of The Messenger or to see the full calendar of events, visit: http://www.mlcas.org
To learn about Hanover Habitat for Humanity, visit: http://www.hanoverhfh.org/
To support Habitat for Humanity in your community: http://www.habitat.org/
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation.
© 2012 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.