This week several folks from Oak Lawn went to West Dallas to read to school age children. It’s a combined ministry of the Wesley-Rankin Center and Project Transformation. Oak Lawners spent Monday and Tuesday morning reading and playing games with the children. I went on Tuesday and there was a ton of us—so many that Dawn Kent and I could not even fit in the church van! There were so many volunteers that I was not even picked to read the first hour, so I went to play with Playdough with the bigger kids. Near the end of our time I sat with a 3rd grader and we read two books: a Charlie Brown book about Thanksgiving, and a Magic Schoolbus book about weather (rain, specifically—I prayed a little as I read!). She and I alternated pages. It was a holy moment, for sure!
Why do Christians every day, in places like West Dallas, Europe, Asia, and everywhere else the Church serves, do such things? Because God’s Big Love is not meant for us alone. It is meant to be shared throughout the world to every person. Christianity is, at its core, a movement for the world. Jesus sent the disciples out into the world over and over again. God’s love is experienced, then shared. It is not for us to keep to ourselves. Jesus said to Peter three times: “Do you love me?” Peter answered, three times: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” Jesus’ response: “Feed my sheep. Tend my lambs. Feed my sheep” (John 21). Earlier in the Gospel of John Jesus said, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (13:35). Love is evidence of a relationship with God. We share that evidence in mission and service. Why do we serve? God’s Big Love came to us in Jesus. We respond by sharing it with others.
I am proud to be a part of a community of faith that lives what it believes by reading to underserved kids, feeding and clothing the poor, supporting ministries around the world. The Oak Lawn Church, through the United Methodist connection, is both reaching out in love to others, as well as giving our members and friends opportunities to live what we believe. If you are looking for a place to put your faith into action through the Oak Lawn Church, please speak to Pastors Kerry, Gregg, or myself. Or find some of our layfolk who are leading serving ministries. You have experienced Christ’s love and grace. Now turn yourself inside out and share that love! I promise you will be blessed in it!