Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers, you did for me.Matthew 25:34-40
I just threw a pan of cornbread in the oven and I have a big pot of chili in the slow cooker. I will pop in some chocolate chip cookies here in a bit. It is a perfect day for a hearty meal. Rumor has it we might see a single snowflake fall in these parts. Snow in November is not common, even though we live in ancient Appalachian hills, I mean mountains. I am a Montanan, I just can’t seem to call them mountains, yet. This large autumn meal is going with us to our church tonight to share with some homeless families staying in our parish for this week. We participate in a program called Family Promise, formerly Inter-Faith Hospitality Network.
It is a national organization that takes in homeless families. The families are provided transportation, classes, and help finding work and housing. They move from church to church each week, as various churches in the area host them. Our parish has shower facilities, a kitchen, and rooms where beds can be placed.
My husband and I decided to volunteer when Michaela was under a year old. It was our family service project, since many of our ministries are separate. It is also a good way for Michaela to grow up feeding and serving the poor in our community. We have met lots of different families. It is nice to hear when they have gotten into their own home. It has also been eye-opening to me to see people from all different walks of life. We all, including myself, have a tendency to cocoon ourselves within our own circle and not see everyone else around us.
Ministries like this one are perfect for families. They need people to provide meals, unlocking the facilities, stay overnight, or spend a couple of hours being available should someone need help. I really enjoy cooking meals and hosting dinner. It allows me to use the hospitality gift God gave me. My husband is really good a striking up conversations with people. I am terrible at starting conversations with complete strangers. I am getting better at it, but my husband helps pull me out of my shell.
I would encourage you to look into opportunities like this in your area. My husband and I walk away with way more blessings than we could ever give to these families. We are called to serve the poor and marginalized in our communities. And with an economy like this, we never know when we could be in need. It does require courage and strength to get outside of ourselves and our comfort zones. Pray for Our Lord to give you the desire to serve. He will make up for what you lack in spades.
What are some ways you serve your community. Can you imagine what our country, what the world would look like, if each one of us took just one day a year to serve others? How about more than one day?!