Lent 2023 is like no other that we’ve experienced at St. Andrew’s.
The words of our Presbyterian World Service and Development Lent call to worship ring incredibly true. (Bold lines are the lines spoken by all of us.)
” Just as the Spirit drove Jesus into the wilderness, the Spirit sends us into places of uncertainty where we confront our weakness and insecurities.
“Sometimes the wilderness is the city. In the city, life can be a struggle where the vulnerable are victimized by unfamiliar structures.
“Jesus rode into Jerusalem to reclaim the city for God. By entering on a donkey, Jesus showed that he would rule with humility and compassion.
“As the Church, we too bring care to those whom the city too often forgets. We remember that many are lost and alone: refugees, the unhoused, sex workers, those far from home.
“We cannot put the burden on the destitute to find their way through the urban maze. We come in humility to serve those whose resources are few and whose needs are many.”
For most of our history, St. Andrew’s has opened its doors to the vulnerable, those struggling with addictions and those struggling with housing and food security. We have focused our professional energies and passions to helping refugees fleeing war. Being the hands of Christ has been a calling.
But this year, we have found out that one program we started many years ago, a soup lunch on Sundays, is no more. The Salvation Army took over that program and expanded it to serve meals to those facing food insecurity not just at Sunday noon, but at lunch and dinner throughout the week. That program, however, ended March 31.
And St. Andrew’s has no kitchen to help cook in, no building to open and provide encouragement and nourishment. It is truly a strange place for us – the people who started the overnight shelter program a quarter century ago – to be.
Journey with us as we seek to follow our Lord this week, and beyond.
We need our friends, those we’ve been working alongside. We will worship with those at Collier United Good Friday at 10:30 a.m. It is an opportunity to see how God uses His people to care for His people.