I’ve joked that if you want to plan a weather event in Corpus Christi, plan it for the third Saturday of the month. That’s when my church hosts its monthly food pantry distribution. Each month we are able to offer a box of food to around eighty families. Lately, that number has dwindled.
We aren’t sure what’s happened. Of course, a global pandemic can disturb any plan. At the same time, we’ve had heavy rain pour in and freezing temperatures stick around on Saturday mornings. We’ve still had a group of church members able to prepare and show up to help. But many of those we serve don’t have transportation. So, it might be more difficult for them now.
I mention that local ministry for two reasons today. First, I’ve appreciated how the group of church members has responded to the situation. They’re considering what changes they need to make. What can they do to ensure we’re serving our immediate neighborhood. That’s how you keep ministry going!
The second reason is because of a conversation I had this weekend. At our food pantry, a man approached me. He got out of line to ask me a question.
He asked, “Where’s the lady?”
I asked him to be a little more specific.
“She’s the one who yells, ‘hello,’ to everyone and always has a smile.”
My heart sank.
I hadn’t thought about her in a few weeks. He was talking about Elizabeth. Right now, because of COVID, people line up outside to receive a box of food. Before, we’d gather inside. There’d be music, conversation, coffee and some sweet bread. When it was time to get started, Elizabeth would corral everyone’s attention.
She did so with a loud hello. Then she’d say a few words about how she loved seeing everyone. She’d tell them she would only miss the food bank if she absolutely had to because they were like family to her.
I took a moment to gather my thoughts when the man asked about Elizabeth. She died last year from COVID. His eyes teared a little when I told him; he had no idea. He went on to tell me how loving he thought she was and that he missed seeing her.
Me, too, brother.
When I left I thought about a quote from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
The world has enough trouble. There are too many people who want to be respected, to be honored. Too many people suck the joy out of life because they always want to be right. None of us need any more of that.
And Christians surely do not need to be those people. We are resurrection people. Christ is risen, and has raised us to new life. He gave his life for us out of love. Now, as people who follow Christ, we lead with love. That’s who God calls us to be.
That’s our witness. That’s our ministry. That’s how we speak to one another. That’s how we treat each other.
So, may we be witnesses to the love of God by living with the love of God.