‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?” (Matthew 25:37-38)
“Everyday Christians” strive to follow Jesus and to live out the teachings of God’s Word. Jesus encourages us to be His disciples, follow in His footsteps and shine God’s light where there is darkness. While the pandemic has changed the manner of worship, online church services and Zoom technology simplified what could have made our church life much more difficult.
We have all encountered adversity at some time in life, and Covid-19 has created more darkness for the streets where many people who are homeless live. The Gospel Mission and other charitable organizations do the best they can to provide for them with shelter and a warm meal, but it is never enough. As you drive around downtown you will see places where homeless people attempt to set up home for the night in unused doorways, an empty building or any space of some sort that will give them shelter. They usually have a shopping cart loaded with their bedding and all their worldly possessions as they roam the neighbourhoods seeking comfort.
St Mary’s parish, through the leadership of our deacon, Heather Karabelas, and a dedicated group of “Pray and Serve” ladies gather once every month to work on a variety of projects. They take time for prayer and often gather items to distribute to those in need. For the past three years the group have been putting together what they call “Blessing Bags.” These bags contain loving thoughts and comforting items for those who are in need. Bottles of water, energy bars, protein foods, fruit cups and hard candy. The “Pray and Serve” group members donated the bag contents and Tim Horton’s cards were added to the bags thanks to a generous financial donation. As many as 24 bags have been made by the “Pray and Serve” group.
The members each take one bag to distribute. Other members of the congregation volunteer to deliver the rest to those in need in our community. Because we live downtown, Mabel and I have been two of those volunteers. This year we encountered nine recipients who could not say Thank You enough. Mabel and I cannot describe the gratitude we feel in being included in the work of the “Pray and Serve” group. It was humbling to be on the front line and to give these tokens of Gods’ love to those living in poverty. To let them know God loves them and we are His messengers.