Community Serve Day
View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com.Community Serve Day was a great Sunday of worship... worship by offering ourselves in service (Romans 12:1). How do you measure the day? By numbers: somewhere between 1300 and 1400 preschoolers, children, students, adults served in 80 locations all over San Diego County. By the stories: there are so many to tell. Those whose imaginations created the site as a place where the love of God could be tangibly demonstrated; the site leaders who prayed for workers, even till the last minute and saw people come together in new ways; the participants who "bought in" to the idea that we'd have no worship services in the sanctuary, only opportunities to serve; the organizations, people, families who welcomed us into their world; the bypassers who saw green shirts and asked questions.
I started out on our church campus hosting Steve Luke from KNSD. He worked with us two years ago on our first CSD. I love the opportunity to tell our story in words, but it's even better to see it in pictures. In the room where dolls were being assembled to be sent to orphans all over world we found an eleven year old girl's birthday/slumber party. The girls learned to sew clothes, braid hair, and put the final touches on dolls. One girl said it was the best birthday party she'd ever been to because it's "so fun to serve." We saw the rummage sale organized by Mothers of Preschoolers to benefit the Encinitas Women's Shelter. Piles of clothes and donated goods that yielded a few thousand dollars in donations. Teams packed food for Native Americans devastated by an earthquake and for wounded warriors. Those teams had 12 year olds and 80 year olds working together, smiling and laughing. Great intergenerational effort, they said.
At Fletcher Cove Community Center a team was tearing out ice plant, making room for a future picnic area. While the group finished their three hour task the deputy mayor showed up and thanked everyone for coming and partnering with the city of Solana Beach. He commented that this Community Center was special to him personally because his daughter was christened there. We reflected as well that this is where our congregation worshiped 65 years ago.
Grant is the supervising lifeguard and attends our church. He was happy to see a team of two families refurbishing the "butt-hut" that provides shelter in bad weather for the lifeguards. Mac was resetting a window that came from the original 1960s lifeguard tower at Tide Beach. Grant has been a lifeguard since 1979 and because of budget cuts has to work on Sunday mornings. I think he was blessed that the church came to him last Sunday.
We finished our tour of sites at High Country Villas. There were people spread out among homes where senior adults asked for help with window washing, gardening, simple repairs, picture hanging, etc. We stopped our car in front of a garage with two green shirts helping a resident. This woman knew our church because our neighbor invited her to the Christmas concert last year, which she loved. She and her husband owned a music store, he was classically trained and she sang in the church choir. Since her husband died her garage has been disorganized and she needed some help labeling and organizing boxes. Her face reflected her gratitude, surprise, and appreciation.
We had some time to just visit with a church member who is unable to come to worship because of respiratory challenges. She was waiting for her crew to return from Home Depot so we had time to just sit and chat about her life, pray together and enjoy the luxury of time on a Sunday afternoon.
The last house we visited was a woman who was on disability because of a torn meniscus. The team of six gardened, opened her dishwasher that was stuck for six weeks and hung some pictures. She was so grateful for the blessing.
This week lots of stories are being told and we'll celebrate in worship this Sunday. God gets the credit in every one for his vision, inspiration, creativity, joy, sacrificial love, energy and passion.
Thank you God!