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“Showing up” is the start of evangelism

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

(Matthew 5:14-16)

In the book Hardball: A Season in the Projects, an investment banker is tasked with coaching a Little League team from Chicago’s housing projects, leading them to develop faith in each other, in baseball, and in God. At one point in the story the protagonist (voiced by Keanu Reeves in the 2001 movie adaptation) proclaims “I want you guys to take a good look at yourselves and feel proud. We made it here. We're here. What I've learned from you is that really one of the most important things in life is showing up. I'm blown away by your ability to show up through everything that's gone on.” Of course the irony is that one player couldn’t show up so they didn’t have enough players to field the team.

At the time I thought “Just showing up, that’s a pretty low bar.” But I was failing to appreciate the context. “Showing up” for these kids was a commitment, often in the face of adversity, ridicule from their peers, and even sacrifice of basic needs like food. “Showing up” resulted in a powerful example to the community of their commitment and faith, as our Lord said in the powerful words from the sermon on the mount “Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.”

In the same way I feel St Thomas UMC is a lamp that gives light to all our community. It’s important that we are present on Sunday mornings. But also by “showing up” through works like the Food Pantry and Clothing Closet, our administration of the ARPA rent and utility local relief grants, and START team missions, we serve in a real sense as that “city on a hill.” People in our community experience those good works, and often (as I’ve seen first hand) turn toward God. This is biblically one of the paths of evangelism.

But that can only be accomplished by our commitment to “showing up”for each other, for our missions, and for our Lord. The need in our community is great–surely for food, clothing, and shelter– but most importantly for the peace that comes from worshiping our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My call to action to you is to find a way to “show up” to serve others–and there are plenty of opportunities right here at St Thomas UMC. In addition to providing for deeply felt basic needs, our service becomes a light guiding those served to Christ.

O Lord, please enable us rise above our day-to-day concerns to find the ability to commit to service to others in the name of Jesus Christ. Lead us through fellowship with other disciples to let the light of our works shine before our community, that they may see and give glory to our Father who is in heaven

About Karl Becker

Karl has been a member of St. Thomas for a little over a year, worshiping along with his youngest son Daniel. He serves with the Food Pantry (Wednesday night), Local Relief (ARPA grant), and the START team.

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