Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:4
My middle son was barely 7 years old, at the kitchen table eating string cheese and crackers, when he saw the newspaper’s front page photo of President Obama, eyes downcast. “Mom, why is the president sad?”
That was July 2013 and the president looked sad because a Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager.
I took a deep breath and asked God to help me speak the truth in love about race & violence. I am white and my son is black. Like Obama, he was born to a white mother and black father and is growing up in a white family.
“The children entered the school to cheers and salutes. Every stairwell and entrance was flanked by men, from the basement to the third floor. The men cheered and high-fived students, and before the day was over more than 100 men agreed to volunteer monthly for a literacy program called Real Men Read and to be mentors at Oglesby.”
In this commentary for the Chicago Tribune, Rev. Otis Moss III, pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, tells how 300 men showed up on the first day of school at an elementary school on the south side to cheer for and encourage students.
300! Men! To cheer for them!
This is the church at work, the body of Christ at work in the world to love the children.
Several people came together, doing the work God set before them, for this to happen.
The principal of Oglesby had a vision of how her school could be. She prayed about it. She told her pastor about it. She asked for help.
The pastor supported the principal, recognized her vision, and shared it with the church. The pastor invested himself and invited the church to join him. “I called for men… to join me at Oglesby on the morning of Sept. 6,” he writes.
The church and the community responded. “Almost 300 men, most from Trinity United Church of Christ on the Far South Side, stood with members of the Black Star Project, Nation of Islam and teachers from Oglesby Elementary School in the Auburn Gresham community.”
God bless it. How can our churches work together in our community to be the body of Christ in the world?
Do you ever wonder what you can do to make a difference in your community? As in, what action can you take that will create positive change?
Step 1: Hang around some people.
People spending time together is the core of an essential resource for healthy communities. Sociologists call it social capital. Most people call it being involved, hanging out, serving, attending, joining.
Any kind of activity people do together builds social connections. Having friends for dinner, going to church, voting, attending public meetings, chatting with neighbors.
Strong social capital in a community is connected with better life for everyone in that community. If lots of other people go to school board meetings and speak up for the needs of families, everyone in the community benefits from better schools — whether they attend meetings or not. Continue reading “Four Steps to Helping Your Community”
In my (limited) experience, church people work together to connect with the world mainly in two ways: to tell about Jesus, and to share our money. Mostly, we give our money to other groups working to tell about Jesus or fight poverty.
Sharing Jesus and sharing money are good things to do. If you are doing these things, I support you.