God is Love

Lenten Reflection, Sunday, February 18, 2018

By: Charmaine Trice

“God is Love.” – 1 John 4:16

“We believe and testify that God loves each of us boundlessly, just as we are. When we know ourselves to be loved deeply and unconditionally, we can love others with that same love that has been given so generously to us” (SSJE).

Congregations Around Richmond Involved to Assure Shelter—an appropriate acronym for “caritas,” or Christian love of humankind, charity. CARITAS’s presence this past week has surely impacted the lives of all in our St. Mary’s community. Perhaps making a meaningful difference in the lives of these vulnerable families has given us perspective on our challenges and blessings, and with impeccable timing—enriching our faith life at the beginning of this season of Lent.

One of my favorite dinner blessings is “Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all thy mercies, and make us ever mindful of the needs of others; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”—a daily reminder that we have so much to be thankful for, AND there is so much need in and beyond our community. Reverend Bob gave a sermon last year on “Living Eucharistically.” Delivered just before Communion, the close ties he drew between the Eucharist and our daily lives resounds each time we say our mealtime blessing. He reminded us of God’s plan for each of us—taking hold of our lives with purpose. He asked that we give thanks for our own, unique gifts and talents; that we “break” into the lives of others and share these gifts; and that we give our lives away to “lean in” to life. In so doing, we will grow hopefully and joyfully in our faith.

This week with CARITAS, we “broke” into the lives of 12 parents, 10 children, 5 teens, and a soon-to-be mother of twins. Although 5:30 each evening was a whirlwind of activity, our guests felt our congregation’s warm, welcoming hearts thanks to His love that binds us all together.

Thank you for your loving hands that unloaded and reloaded trucks, prepared and served meals, assembled lunches and gift bags, donated supplies, laundered and mended clothes, drove shower shuttles, spent time with guests, held and fed children, played games, washed dishes, blessed meals, stayed overnight, and to Seth Schaeffer, the CARITAS Committee, and those who have led this outreach mission for years. Thanks to all of you for being ever mindful of others’ needs, and “leaning in.”