Something happened yesterday at worship. I want to share it so the midweek is arriving early.
Yesterday we talked about being disciples. Jesus’ ministry lasted three years from the time when he began teaching and preaching and healing until his crucifixion. Just three years—but his mission has lasted 2017 years—because he handed it over to his disciples, people like you and me. It is pretty amazing that Jesus would put such important work in our hands, but for some reason Jesus did. Jesus still inspires and leads and energizes and enables his mission, but we, disciples, carry it out.
Yesterday we read Matthew 18. Jesus’ first disciple recruits asked Jesus a basic organizational question. Who Is the greatest? Who was in charge? Jesus answered them by placing a child in the middle of the conversation. A child was the greatest and he urged us (his disciples) to welcome children.
Ok, he didn’t exactly urge us—he went on to say awful things would happen if we didn’t care for the little ones. It may sound like a threat. I think caring for the small and the vulnerable is simply the reality in Jesus’ kingdom.
So at the end of worship, the pastor (ok—that was me) issued a challenge. Every person was asked to take Jesus’ words seriously and do something this week that improved the lives of children. Not our own children or grandchildren—of course, we are caring for them. We were asked to do something that improves the lives of children, beyond our own families.
After worship, several people stopped me and said they didn’t know what to do. I knew exactly how they felt. I live in a comfortable suburb. I think that blinds me to the needs of children. (My neighbor kids seem to be doing fine.) I need to learn more about the needs of children across our community. I have to do some research. I have to step out of my comfort zone to discover what the needs of children are.
Some people began talking about what they might do. One was a retired teacher and she taught on the east side of Des Moines. She talked about calling the school and seeing what they needed. Someone else mentioned the DMARC Food Pantry. That might be a place to meet the nutritional needs of children. We have at least two retired people who volunteer at our local schools. Ann RC and I spoke after worship and she sent me this email after worship:
Here is the literacy/mentoring program I was talking about after service.
I know Hillside hosts this program along with many other schools and children's programs around central Iowa. This would be a great opportunity to "remove a stumbling" block for a child.
(By the way, Ann is one of our younger disciples and our younger disciples are waiting and watching for the church to make a difference in the world.)
248 people attended worship yesterday. Another 800 people receive this email. Can we, as disciples, make a difference in the lives of children in our community and world? Jesus seems to think so.
Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
Like us on Facebook and visit us at wdmumc.org
This week at West Des Moines United Methodist Church…
And a whole lot of people changing the lives of children.