Monday, May 10, 2010

City-Wide Serve Day

On Saturday, more than 200 Christ-followers from 10 different churches in Gardner joined together in serving the community. We had groups helping with home repair in low or fixed-income housing communities. We had groups helping beautify parks in the city's park-and-rec division. The group I lead put down mulch at the base of every single tree on the GEHS campus.

Before going out to serve, we gathered together at Cornerstone Park for a "thank-you" from our Mayor and to pray together. As our group was preparing to spread out across the city, I was thinking of a quote from NT Wright's book, Surprised by Hope.

"But what we can and must do in the present, if we are obedient to the gospel, if we are following Jesus and if we are indwelt, energized, and directed by the Spirit, is to build for the Kingdom. This brings us back to 1 Corinthians 15:58 once more; what you do in the Lord is not in vain. You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that's about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that's shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planging roses in a gardnen that's about to be dug up for a building site. You are - strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself - accomplishing something that will become in due course part of God's new world. Every act of love, gratitude, and kindess; every work of art or music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of his creation; every minute spent teaching a severly handicapped child to read or to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one's fellow human beings and for that matter one's fellow nonhuman creature; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-lead teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the name of Jesus honored in the world - all of this will find its way through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make. That is the logic of the mission of God. God's recreation of his wonderful world, which began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues mysteriously as God's poeple live in the risen Christ and in the power of his Spirit, means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted. It will last all the way into God's new world. In fact, it will be enhanced there."

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