Earlier this month, I got out of bed at 4:45 a.m. knowing that this would be the last Sunday that I would serve breakfast to the homeless in downtown Atlanta after doing it most every month for 22 years with my two youth groups. My son, Jackson would have joined me except for the fact that at the same time he was going with his mother to go skydiving from 14,000 feet to celebrate turning 18.
Our going in two different directions that morning made me think: living out one's Christian faith is a little bit like skydiving. It's scary, it's exhilarating, it is truly an adventure! While I've never been skydiving, serving the homeless has created quite a few memorable and at times entertaining, even exhilarating, moments. I'll never forget that morning when youth advisor Shawn Rowland-Howell got doused with orange juice breaking up a fight that involved a cross-dresser. But I also remember less sensational occurrences, especially the conversations with the homeless, folks down on their luck struggling to make ends meet. I will truly miss these monthly sojourns downtown. On this last visit I was very touched when they made a presentation to me, which included a card signed by many of the participants.
When I think about why we do this each month when our bodies would surely be amenable to sleeping in a little later, I figure we do it at least in part because it makes us feel good and maybe assuages our upper middle class suburban guilt some. But on a deeper level, I think we do it simply because we are compelled to. We have been so blessed by God in life that we are compelled to be a blessing to others, especially the "least of these."
It is about cultivating habits that exhibit the fruits of the Spirit, especially kindness and generosity. As I move on, I pray that I find a new opportunity to serve the least of these, one outside my "professional responsibilities." And I pray that this monthly experience continues with our church, and that more from JCPC, both youth and adults, join in the festivities so that habits of faith are nurtured. Being a disciple is about believing, but it is also about doing. It's about taking a leap of faith. I'd rather do that than go skydiving any day!
Following Jesus is a little bit like skydiving!
"But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers..." James 1:22
Prayer for Today
O God, you tell us that as we do to the least of these, we do it unto you. May we take these words to heart. As we have been so blessed, may we be a blessing to others. Amen.