Thursday, August 25, 2011

Compassion and Companionship in a Small City

What if Jesus hadn’t fed the 5000?

What if he had confined his actions to a ‘preaching tour’ without any active involvement with the poor and needy of his time? What if he’d thought they were too different, too dangerous, too unimportant to spend time with?
Well, the answer is simple: He wouldn’t be Jesus.

This means of course that if we want to be followers of Christ, if we want to be real Christians, then we have to get involved. Fortunately, many Churches understand this, and run hospitality and outreach programs.

For example, in my little city of Brockville, the Pier Christian Church’s Common Ground program provides hospitality, prayer and lunch for 50-80 people a day. Common Ground started as a coffee and prayer drop-in program several years ago. Its primary intent was to provide spiritual care to the wider community. At Common Ground everyone is welcome. Participants find friendship, fellowship, faith and food all in one place.

Good Christian ministry should always be more about solidarity than charity. True solidarity means being there for each other regardless of our circumstances, our appearance, our interests, even our sins. A church community isn’t made up of saints, but rather neighbors struggling to help each other and follow in the footsteps of Christ. This is what it means to love your neighbor. This is what it means to love your God.

The Pier’s Common Ground, like other church ministries, serves as a reminder that we cannot worship a homeless man on Sunday and ignore one the rest of the week. We’re called to be creative, courageous and compassionate. We’re called to walk in the footsteps of the man from Galilee who ate, prayed and laughed with the poorest around him.

What ministries are you involved in? What draws you to it?

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