Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)
It is harvest time again! After a milder summer with a good amount of rain, I see many gardens overflowing. Nearly a ton of fresh vegetables have been harvested in All Souls’ community garden alone to feed our hungry neighbors. More is likely to be harvested throughout September. We are blessed to share in that effort as well as that of our community food pantry, MCEF.
Yet, we have neighbors who hunger for much more than food. In the upcoming months, we’ll need to feed the souls of those participating in worship, as well as others longing for the word of God through our Christian formation programs and witness. We’ll be asked to help Hanover Habitat in its mission to provide affordable, quality homes to our neighbors. We’ll seek to help the local Gideon’s comfort and enrich travelers, military members and others by providing Bibles. We’ll be feeding the intellect, heads, hearts and stomachs of our preschool and after school students. We’ll be actively preparing our house of faith to better welcome those with physical and intellectual disabilities. At times, we’ll be visiting the sick, suffering and dying. At other times, we’ll celebrate God’s creation through arts and crafts as well as our pets. At all times, we’ll continue to walk with our homeless brothers and sisters – especially those in our congregation – toward greater stability and renewal. This is just a short list of the harvest our shared ministry yields all year long. As busy as it may get, we are asked by Jesus to love one another, so we’ll plan to have some fun together too.
I once saw a sign that said, “Church is a verb.” As a past English major, I can’t strictly agree with that, but I do agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment. We are the church. We were created to be living, growing beings who share a living, growing faith in active community. We are God’s hands and feet, and our faces shine upon others with the love of God.
If you have been away, distracted, or just plain unavailable, think about returning once again to the mission field with us. We invite you to worship, bible study, prayer and service, but I think you’ll find it filled with fellowship and fun. Your life will be enriched along with the lives of others. It is as scripture tells us, “Faith without works is dead.” Instead, Jesus’ desires to offer us an abundant life; one so full of love that it overflows to bless the lives of others. Even our most humble attempts to share faith, hope and love will even be used to usher in the kingdom of God.
Trust that our labor together will not be in vain, for it is God who sends us. Why not come, taste and see? Why not have your vision and sense of family and purpose renewed? Welcome back to another year at Messiah Lutheran! Let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Originally submitted for Messiah Lutheran’s newsletter, The Messenger (September 2014).
Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations for this article are from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) translation. This post was first published in The Messenger, the newsletter of Messiah Lutheran Church (June 2014).
© 2014 The Rev. Louis Florio. All content not held under another’s copyright may not be used without permission of the author.