November 14, 2018
by Candace Kostna, Family Ministry Coordinator
After washing his disciples’ feet Jesus said “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you should also wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” – John 13:14-15
Service to others – family, friend or stranger – is the calling we are given through the life and message of Jesus. As Christians we are blessed with the gospel, God’s ongoing outpouring of love and forgiveness. How do we respond to this everlasting gift? We gratefully respond in our service to others, expressing our gratitude for God’s love AND also communicating that love to others.
Serving others together, as a family or faith community, provides opportunities for children, youth and adults alike, to see our gifts, faith and values in action. Cross+generation service experiences are also a vital way to pass on faith from generation to generation. Children and youth are greatly influenced by what they see their parents and other adults in their lives do. Here are a couple of examples…
When I was in elementary school, each classroom would collect Christmas hamper items for a family in need. In Grade 5, I was asked to help with the delivery of the hamper our class put together. When the family answered the door, their son started running around exclaiming “The hamper is here! The hamper is here!” I remember thinking at the moment Wow! He sure is happy!” I soon recognized how blessed my family was and this experience has stuck with me. Over the years, I have shared this experience with others, including my own children. Giving to Christmas hampers continues to be one of my, and now my family’s, acts of service each Christmas season.
Last year, our Senior Confirmands and their parents prepared and served a meal at the Urban. In the conversations that followed, youth and parents alike shared how reaching out to others in need was a meaningful, faith building experience. They saw their faith in action as they shared God’s love in providing a meal to those in need. A few weeks later, each confirmand included this experience and how it has shaped their faith in their faith statement on Confirmation Sunday.
How can you answer Jesus’ call to serve others? Perhaps it’s getting involved in our faith community’s service projects like WE CARE Bags for CLWR, Christmas hampers for the Cheer Board or joining a Meal Team for the Urban (more info about that in the new year). Or perhaps it’s simply opening the door for someone, helping a neighbour, or sharing a smile. Families can view doing household chores together not as work, but as loving acts of kindness – the essence of life in Christ.
May we all continue to see serving others as a lifestyle we practice each and everyday as we answer Jesus’ call to follow his example.
Together we grow in faith!