Rubber Meeting the Road

I write this pastor’s perspective in the busiest week of the Christian year. It’s a “good kind” of busy, but it is busy nonetheless. At the moment, I hear Joe, a guy we have helped from time to time, upstairs moving chairs into place for our“backup plan” should we be rained out of our courtyard service on Easter Sunday. He needed a little bit of financial assistance because he was evicted from his apartment, so he asked what he could do around here to help. Fortunately this week we have plenty.

Added on top of this seasonal busyness, we have been hard at work making preparations to be of assistance to our community during the anticipated teacher walk out. We have recruited volunteers, and are providing childcare from 8:30-3:30 every weekday on a week to week basis for a maximum of 30 kids. We’re helping kids from the neighborhood, from KW elementary, from the TU Law school, and from our own constituency of church members and friends. I am very proud of this effort being spearheaded by our preschool director and children’s volunteer, Karen Cody. Despite having A LOT of heavy things on her plate right now she has drawn on personal friends and contacts, parents of our preschool program, and volunteers from our own church to resource a great outreach by our church to the community.

It is interesting to me that this all comes to a head on Easter Monday. We pour a lot of attention and effort each year into making the Easter service something of a “showcase” for our church, and then Easter Monday is typically when we “exhale”and sink back in our seats exhausted. It is a good kind of tired. One that resonates with our spirits.

This year, Easter Monday holds what is perhaps the most important and appreciated ways our church has reached out to the community in the year. We will be offering a vital need, and doing so in support of educators. We will be showing our community, most of whom are outside our congregation, that we care for them. It’s what a church should be doing. It reminds me of the text that falls within the Eastertide lectionary from 1 John 3: 17-18, “How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.” The Easter message of resurrection, hope, and life will be put into truth and action on Easter Monday, when we are marshalling our efforts for folks in need. We’re not ‘refusing to help,’ and I know that God will provide.

This all comes at the end of a season of Lent when we’ve been building a banner illustrating our hope to see God’s justice “Rolling down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (pictured here). The banner includes hundreds of strips of fabric (about 600, in fact, for the 6 Sundays of Lent) that include all kinds of responses to prompts we’ve had during each worship service to imagine ways we might be included in God’s acts of social justice in our church, in the neighborhood, in the city, the state, the nation, and the world.I am sure that God is using us now to “fill in the gap” left by the failure of our state government to ensure our teachers aren’t the lowest paid in the nation, and that our schools aren’t some of the least funded. God’s justice is loving-kindness poured out on those in need.

You might think the most prototypical picture of what a church can be might be captured amidst the pomp and finery of Easter Sunday, but it might just be that the prototype of what the church can be will instead be seen in the nitty gritty of Easter Monday.