Church is different things to different people. For some people it’s the worship service at a conference of Christian writers.
To others, it’s a Cathedral with a majestic altar.
Maybe for you it’s putting on your Sunday best and heading off to the local church where you spend a couple of hours singing with the choir, listening to the pastor and then opening up the doors of the church for people to accept Jesus.
It might be worshiping in the rough cut hut of a rainforest chapel while on a missions trip.
Perhaps, it was meeting with other Christians in a small restaurant where you joined your voices together in song and praise after a great meal.
Then again, it might be meatloaf church. Earlier this week I posted a recipe for meatloaf that was designed to serve 300 people. That’s every bit as much of a church service as any of the above. In Matthew 25:37-40 Jesus explicitly addresses the need to take care of our brothers and sisters who are hungry. I like that church most of all.
Friends of mine, Bob and his wife Patricia are stewards of that little corner of Christianity. They bought a church a while back and use the proceeds from the business they own to provide tutoring programs and host meals for the people we are commanded to care for in this life. Bob and Pat, with the able help of a cast of dozens (especially Pam, Pat’s sister) put on a “good neighbor meal” every second and final Saturday of the month at that church. Bob’s not the pastor, he lets a couple of local congregations use the building each week, and a bunch of other groups and churches come in biweekly and do the meals.
That’s a part of “Church” in the Biblical sense. It’s serving your fellow man as though he was Christ. It’s doing those good works in a tangible way. It’s being footsore, stiff, sweaty, overheated, and suffering from dish-pan hands while making, serving, and cleaning up after a meal. It means a personal investment above and beyond just footing the bill. That’s church as well.
I hope that you will consider doing this act of kindness in your own life. Find a kitchen for the poor. Don’t wait for Thanksgiving or Christmas, do it this month. The poor are with us always… I have that on good authority. And they’re hungry, hot, tired, and unloved year round. You can help with three of the four by joining a local church or civic group to meet this need. If you’re in the Twin Cities area, leave a comment here and I’ll put you in touch with the right people, get the ball rolling, and even provide you with some ideas for meals.
You can do it by yourself, you can organize your friends and family to help and contribute, or you can just wander on in (after we talk) to help out with a meal someone else is providing.
The cost is pretty reasonable: $500 or less to feed 300 people. That means that you can shell out $250 (on average a little bit closer to $300) to feed 150 people, our usual turnout. I quote the 300 figure because we’re getting better at preparing meals for future dates and freezing them until we’re ready. There’s a huge economy of scale in doing things bulk style. Once you’re ready, we’ll help you scale it up.
All I ask is that you pray and reflect on this request. And then just leave a comment. If you’d like to remain anonymous, make sure you mention that in your comment and I won’t publish it.