By Rev. Susan Li - Editorial Tri-County Record Thursday, May 11, 2006
Rushford, Minn.– The risen Christ appears to his disciples on the first Easter evening. Even though they were afraid and confused, Jesus tells them, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John 20:21) He breathes into them the Holy Spirit, and these formerly fearful and misunderstanding followers are transformed into articulate, persuasive and powerful witnesses to the gospel of forgiveness and new life. The followers become leaders within a growing community gathered about the risen Christ.
They have been gathered and “sent”, or commissioned by Christ, to continue the ministry Jesus began: healing, teaching, and proclaiming that the kingdom of God has come near in the person of Jesus Christ.
This early Christian community was noted for its generosity and compassion. The members shared what they, so that “no one among them was in need.” (Acts 4:34) Realizing the depth of God’s generous love revealed in Jesus, these early believers responded with love and concern for their neighbors.
Throughout the centuries, the community gathered around the risen Christ, his church, has grown and changed, but one quality the church is always called to reflect is love and concern for the neighbor. In the parable of the Good Throughout the centuries, the community gathered around the risen Christ, his church, has grown and changed, but one quality the church is always called to reflect is love and concern for the neighbor. In the parable of the Good Samaritan, Jesus makes it clear that our neighbor is anyone who is in need.
We in Rushford have a new opportunity to respond to neighbors in need who live on the Crow Creek Reservation in South Dakota. Area congregations will be working together during the week of May 15 to fill a semi-trailer with items most needed on the reservation, where the unemployment rate is over 90%, and poverty is pervasive.
The focus is on collecting items for children, including baby and children’s clothes, disposable diapers, books, cribs, toys, games, and bicycles in good condition. There is also a need for items for the elderly, including canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Also needed are furniture, mattresses, bedding, and small appliances in good, working order. Adult clothing is not needed at this time.
Items will be collected Monday, May 15 through Friday, may 19, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, May 20, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., on the west side of Nordic Lanes in Rushford. You will see the semi trailer. There will be volunteers there to receive your donations.
This is the week of the city-wide garage sale and clean-up. It is a good time to share from our abundance with those in need. In Luke’s gospel, Jon the Baptist tells those being baptized, “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever ahs food must do likewise.” (Luke 3:10-11) The point is, there is nothing wrong with having possessions, but if we have more than enough, we should be willing to share out of our abundance with those who need.
Similarly, I John 3:17 challenges us to consider, “How does the love of God abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses to help?” john continues, “Little children, let us love not in word or speech [only], but in truth and action…Beloved, since God has loved us so much, we also aught to love one another.” It follows that since God has been more than generous with us, we can be generous with one another.
Let’s fill the semi trailer next week! God has given us much to share. Thanks be to God, who gives us neighbors to share with and love!