My last month has been consumed with Back to School details. Backpacks, shoes, notebooks, hair cuts...the list goes on and on. However, this hyper focus on back to school details has not been for my own kids, Nathan and Margaret. It has been focused on the 1300 students we welcomed into St. Luke's last Saturday. Families from mostly Washington and Pike Township, came to St. Luke's to find the necessary things kids need to start off school on a positive step.
Today, Dave and I are doing the back to school details with Nate and Margaret. Hair cuts, shoes, Target for school supplies. We know this will take a hit on our pocketbook, however we've prepared for it. But, what if you are working hard each week, each day, just to provide the basic needs for your family--shelter and food. If these two basic needs are already stretching your resources, then back to school supplies aren't even close to being a priority.
That's why St. Luke's got into the Back to School business. We wanted to help take away the stress, fear and disappointment parents feel when they cannot find the resources to get their kids ready for the first day of school. Opening our doors and partnering with great ministry partners like Northminster Presbyterian and Second Presbyterian makes it possible for us to give hope to our neighbors even if it is in the way of a backpack, pair of new shoes or new jeans.
These things matter because we don't have to do it. We could stay in our comfort zone and look the other way. But, then we really do have to do it, don't we? Jesus taught us to love our neighbor. Jesus challenged us to GO and make disciples. We are called to serve others with dignity remembering that we are all created in the image of God.
So, the person we see at church, at the food pantry, in the backpack line; these people all have the face of God. Thank you for being a church who believes in reaching out and opening our doors to everyone. Thank you for responding to the needs of our community. Thank you for having courage to step out and offer our neighbors hope. I'm a proud pastor.
Tomorrow we head to the schools to prepare the grounds, classrooms and hallways for the first day on August 3. If you want to pitch in, sign up here. Put on your St. Luke's Red Shirt (or get one at the school) and meet at the school of your choice at 8:30am. After you finish, meet Dave and me at the Rusty Bucket for lunch and sharing stories.
Hope to see you there!