Today, like most days, I was out taking my morning stroll, the sun beckoning me from between the lofty, colorful branches of brilliantly painted leaves of gold and red, some falling gently in a twirled fashion. All the while, my head was spinning with ideas, and musical sounds, but mostly the thought of our Community Meal being held today in the church hall.
The continuing saga of this weekend's presentation, on "Restoring Living Icons" caused me to wonder, just how many would hearken to the call of brotherly love today in the feeding of the decidedly poor, working poor and elderly participants. Although, open to the public at large, my heart always goes out to the many who are without and have not found their way to the church hall, as yet.
Before I left the house, I put together a map with instructions on how to get to our church, the time and "FREE," just in case it would be needed. Going down the street, I saw an elderly man with signs, the election type, and I started small talk, learning that he had already been to Worcester and was preparing to "knock on doors." He asked me if I wanted material to distribute and of course, I declined. I asked him if he was aware that this town has a good amount of working poor and needy in it, that we are looking to feed once a month, and that he was also invited. He mentioned the Polish Church, and I said people who go there also attended our Community Meal. He asked if we received donations, and I said yes, but it is "free," telling him the time and what was being prepared. He was interested in attending. Then, at almost the same time, he sputtered "that it was about time that we get the Welfare Office out of this town". How does that feed our hungry children, I thought silently. Compassion anyone?
He left in his truck, his precedence was the election. Mine still being the hungry, lonely, shut-in and working poor in this community, I thought, if he could go door to door, then I can campaign also. I made a few phone calls to my own family, and then, after spotting my neighbor, gave her the map, explaining all the details. Happily, she was on her way into the house to call some people that she knew.
What would be your answer? Yes, you will always have the poor amongst you, and thank God for it. "Do not look a gift-horse in the face," as this may be your only opportunity to salvation. You cannot buy your way to heaven.
I think that it is rather interesting to see the result of meshing people together under one roof. The statistics we read about become "personal." Personal responsibility for one's neighbor, especially those who are not moving, but have learned to love it here just as we do. Friendships begin to take form and joy and laughter can be heard.
We learn the lesson of sharing and caring, because we are all brother's after all, aren't we? When we close our eyes tonight, it will be with the knowledge that we have helped to share in the burden of someone else. And that, my friend, is a great consolation to us both.
We are called to love our neighbor, our brother. Taken from the Orthodox Study Bible, 1Corinthians 13:3--"And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing."
Further instruction tell us that we know when we are acting with love by it's characteristics, such as: Long-suffering, patient, kind, gentle, especially with those who hurt.
Love is a decision.....
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