Joyfully Gathering to Serve

The people of the NC Synod could easily have opted for the comfortable (even understandable) choice of curling up on our sofas with Netflix instead of participating in God’s Work. Our Hands. this year. But I celebrate that instead, Lutherans across the state chose to act with holy defiance by serving in our communities during the strange era of COVID-19, boldly living out our faith and proclaiming the radical message of God’s abundant love in a hurting world.

The congregation of Morning Star Lutheran Church in Matthews safely and carefully shared two days of inspiring servant experiences; however, our activities certainly looked different from a typical God’s Work. Our Hands. weekend. Multiple small groups gathered, primarily outdoors, with only smiling eyes visible above our face masks as we picked up trash, worked at Wings of Eagles Ranch, sewed winter clothing for our neighbors experiencing homelessness, created teacher appreciation gifts, and collected in-kind donations. Families picked up faith formation materials to support building faith in their homes during our time apart. One group met online to make plans for action to help bring racial justice and healing into our community.

In the end, the tangible gifts of our efforts included a more beautiful drive and healthier environment, a garden and playground lovingly restored, a year’s supply of handmade quilts boxed and prepared to deliver to an LWR ingathering, bunches of cozy fleece hats ready to be worn on the cold nights ahead, eyeglasses donated to improve vision, canned goods given to restock a food pantry, and home-baked cookies and water bottles donated to supplement monthly meals at the men’s shelter. Well done good and faithful servants!

My hope is that as we joyfully gathered to serve together, that our own battered hearts and souls were mended a bit, as God worked through our hands to begin healing some of the brokenness and pain within ourselves and in our world.

Story submitted by Deacon Wendy Roberts.