I replied, "I do not know. They should be coming."
Yesterday was an unusual Saturday. My normal routine was to go to the Y, swim, then bike for a few hours. Instead, I found myself in my church's social hall.
My church was having a lunch potluck. A brother worked at a shelter and he invited a number of guests to join us. For the past few Christmas our congregation had a celebration. Last year it was a buffet.
I reflected on Luke 14 when Jesus told the Pharisees...."do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors....when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind..."
Jesus' words ring loudly in my heart. And so, this year around, we invited those who we don't normally hang out with.
As my pastor and I continued to set up the tables, more people showed up. First those who prepared food. Then a few university students. As more and more showed up, we pray before we get started.
My heart was already racing by then. My mind was some where else. I was thinking the next step and next item to do. Get the cooks, prepare the food, find out how much cultery we need, get the drivers here, designate pick up locations.....
We pause for a few min and prayed. I was in a lost for words.
And we were off. We pulled the drivers together. It turned out one of the sisters had a van and I don't have to rent a van (YAY!). We picked the people from various locations.
Soon the social hall of my church were filled with people. People who normally don't come to my church. Maybe they have never went to a church before. What's even more spectacular were seeing my church engaging with them. We invited them. We chatted with them. We shared a meal. We laughed and talked.
This Sun Service, my pastor read out a response by one of the guests. He mentioned how he enjoyed our company and how we treat him with sincerity and dignity. I was in tears. I stopped and said:
"This is how a church suppose to be."
"..a church that can be ... home of every form of help and blessing which Jesus came to give to lost and suffering men..."
I do not have much to stay or response. I am still soaking in the moment. I am joyful that my church was able to stand against the sad and sinful world and shared a meal. I know that this ain't just the end. Rather a beginning. Where we can re-imagine what a church can and meant to be. May the Spirit use this to move people's heart. To move my congregation's heart so we see ourselves as the light of Mississauga and the surrounding. And the heart of the guests, that they find shelter, comfort, hope and strength through You.
Here's a response from one of the brother who partake with the lunch yesterday:
"My prayer is God will open our church more times to the people in shelters and bless those who have come to the church and regenerate their soul with the gift of salvation from the Lord, and use us effectively so they will see the Lord Jesus in us and humble us to serve them with the love of Jesus, and build meaningful relationship with them so they will know the Lord and increase their faith in the Lord Christ Jesus. AMEN!"
I couldn't say it any better.
It's good to be used. Especially when the I am use for things that will not be lost by rust or moths.