The first epistle of John promises that when Jesus is fully revealed “we will be like him” (1 John 3:2). How does this transformation, this metamorphosis of glory, come about? Part of the answer, surely, is when we act like him. This past weekend a team of students and staff from Central traveled to St. Louis for the gathering of CBF of Missouri. This was not a typical “meeting.” Indeed, it was intentionally planned to subvert the passivity of most meetings—where a few speak and others mostly listen. The rousing worship Friday evening was constructed to consecrate us for service, preparing our spirits for ministry.
Saturday morning saw us fanning out across the city to offer willing hands and hearts to assist in varied ongoing ministries: Habit for Humanity, Salvation Army, the VA Hospital, the food pantry for Bosnian refugees, a neighborhood elementary school, and the gym and clothes closet at Third Baptist Church, which hosted the gathering. Young and old found work to do that made a concrete difference. We painted, sorted clothes, hauled lumber, cleaned pews, inflated basketballs (a simple task with windy preachers in abundance!), hung monitors on walls, and deepened our friendship with Christ and one another as we labored.
And then Christ served us as we gathered around tables for an Agape Meal, receiving Eucharist as a part of our lunch. The joy in the room was palpable. We recognized him in the breaking of bread, a realization sharpened by our efforts to serve as his presence in communities of need that morning. Perhaps we saw him more clearly because we had become more like him in stooping service for those he loves so well.
Molly T. Marshall