The Language of Service

by | May 21, 2018

For some reason, it felt like Pentecost came very early this year. Yesterday I heard a pastor friend saying that things are so busy there wasn’t time to really think about Pentecost, and it reminded me how sometimes we try to fit God into our very-busy lives (even those of us who work for the church can get too busy to contemplate the One we have vowed to serve). I thought how Jesus’ followers would not be busy with tasks, as they were in fear and mourning, having first lost Jesus to crucifixion, and then having Jesus leave again as he ascended into heaven-yet devoting themselves to prayer and preaching to their congregation of around 120. Their lives were open for the coming of the Spirit-though certainly the rest of Jerusalem was taken by surprise!

Yesterday I heard a sermon focusing on the Pentecost gift being that of language. Now I happen to think of “language” in a larger sense-that is, all the ways we communicate with others. So there are the words we use, but also the way we communicate our faith through the choices we make, the ways we treat people, the love and forgiveness we offer, as Jesus gave to us. We even know that the architecture of our buildings and the songs we sing in worship express something of what we believe about God, and who we are as God’s church. And we speak of serving Jesus when we serve others, especially when we show concern for those who struggle in the world, “the least of these.”

I once heard a person say, “I want my life to be my sermon.” What language do you use to proclaim Christ in your life?

For many of us, we communicate, and fellowship, and learn through service. If that’s you too, please be sure to come to our next Presbytery meeting, June 2, which is also our 2nd Annual All-Presbytery Day of Service, held at Westminster Gardens in Duarte. That’s less than two weeks away!

We are planning the day to really be a morning-registration starts at 8:30, and the meeting starts at 9 am. We expect that the meeting will move into service projects by 10:30, so the meeting adjourns at 12:30 with lunch. All the service projects will be done at Westminster Gardens, though not all the projects are for Westminster Gardens. So we are hoping that everyone stays for the full meeting, which includes the service opportunities. As with last year, we are posting a Google Docs sign-up for the service projects-though you can also register on-site, you can give the organizers some advance notice by signing up here – Open in Docs

You’ll see that there’s a variety of options-from a few landscaping projects, to putting together housewarming baskets and hygiene kits, to sharing sacred stories with long-time servants of God, to immigrant advocacy. Along with the service, there will be learning along the way, as service project leaders such as Angel Interfaith Network and Door of Hope (hygiene kits and housewarming baskets) and Margarita Reyes and Walter Contreras (immigrant advocacy) will give information about the communities they serve, and ways we can be Christ’s hands and heart for them.

There’s even a shopping component. At the last Presbytery meeting and in last week’s Monday Morning Update, we gave you shopping lists for the hygiene kits and housewarming baskets-see the list again in a separate box. In addition, we invite you to bring in $5 Target gift cards for families who are caring for unaccompanied minors as they seek asylum here in Southern California. These young people are fleeing the rampant violence in Central America, and are in our immigration court system, living with volunteer families until they can appear before a judge. As part of the immigrant advocacy project, we will be writing notes of encouragement to the young people and their families, and we will insert a gift card in each note. You can bring in any of these items, regardless of your participation in that service project.

So now you can be shoppers for Jesus, and invite your friends to join us for a very short Presbytery meeting-or invite them to come to Westminster Gardens at 10:00 for worship, and 10:30 for the service projects. We hope that we can get to know each other better as we learn and serve for the kingdom.

Later this week, several of our own will be leaving to learn and serve in Peru. This year we will be sending a 9-person Living Waters team, to install a clean water system for a school in Lima. Because this is the first time we are not working in a high-altitude community, this team includes folks who have not been able to serve in the past. We are grateful that we can continue in this on-going commitment to the people of Peru. I ask that you pray for the team, as well as for the people of the Big Island whose homes were overtaken by the Kilauea volcano. I have visited this area (and worked with churches there), when the lava would pour out of Kilauea in a slow stream, not like the violent eruptions happening today. There are multiple hazards resulting from this open break in the earth’s crust, even as eventually this will lead to new land being birthed. May we all remember with reverence the power of God’s creation.

In love and service,