Serving connects to good will
I serve. I do. I want to connect to the Good Will, the God willing, the servant in me. I serve many, but there are always more in need, right? Who is on “my path”, in “my small part of the world”, what aspect of need is crying the loudest? Could it be one of my kids? They can be pretty loud. What is tugging the most at my heart; is it perhaps a single mom in the neighborhood? Maybe it’s what simply trips me up to notice, to stop and contribute; the local school that I know I could help improve? A clinic that needs attention?
Various seasons in my life have taught me about serving, about giving…and receiving, collaborating, and as well as being nourished. One of the most beautiful expressions I have witnessed for over a decade is the way a particular homeless ministry in Atlanta operates, serving people in its “small part of the world”. Lazarus Ministries doesn’t simply give and serve, they fellowship with the homeless community in Atlanta, GA. The volunteers in this ministry build relationships and commune…they see the good and are willing to connect themselves to it.
Since 2001, the annual Christmas Dinner is a celebration of the Advent season and the culmination of another year spent sharing life together. The gathering isn’t a food line where people come for a handout of a plate and go their own way. Rather, this meal is a feast, experienced together at tables complete with candles, real plates, tablecloths, glasses, caroling, and plenty of good cheer.
Love is exchanged and witnessed. Voices are heard, hands are held and the Peace that is craved in this season grows. The church community that supports Lazarus provides the turkeys and mashed potatoes and feasts alongside, WITH their friends living on the street and staying in nearby shelters.
Dinner is intentionally held the outside, just across from the Atlanta Mission for the comfort of the chronically homeless that may feel uncomfortable coming indoors. The details to understand and respect people are paramount in the expressions of goodwill with this team. The value of the human spirit is honored in the exchanges that take place…both at this feast, at the other events that Lazarus hosts, and in the day to day support it offers to the community. Lives are changed and the increased hope in the goodwill of others grows.
The developer of chiropractic, Dr. BJ Palmer, once said “You’ll never know how far reaching something you say, think or do today will affect the lives of millions tomorrow.” I believe the Love exchanged in settings like the ones this ministry hosts can and will grow the Peace our cultures crave.
I can only pray we all find people on our paths to share Life with. That we serve; sharing our good in the small patch of the planet we occupy. I pray we slow down long enough to notice the areas that trip us up to stop and contribute…even if it’s just baking a turkey for the holiday feast.