Why we do What we do

If you have been following these pages you know that my parish, St. Michael Orthodox Church in Southbridge, Massachusetts has been hosting a Community Meal for the last two years. The idea of this meal is to provide a meal for members of the community, regardless of the position and economic situation. It is also designed to bring community together. People come to the church hall around 4 pm and sit over a cup of coffee and chat and visit with each other. Sometimes a person sits alone at a table but before long they are joined by others and community starts to form.
We have a wonderful crew here that helps serve this meal and clean up and the parish has made the commitment these last two years to fund the meal. We do not charge for the meal but if you like you can leave a little donation in the basket on the table.
We started the meal once a month which then grew into twice a month and has now gone to three times each month starting in February. We were supposed to start in January but the floor in the hall was being replaced. It has been a joy to meet people and sit with them and listen to their stories. A joy and sometimes a heart ache as people share stories about how hard it is to make ends meet.
Last night, as I was “working the room,” I heard one of those stories. There was a man sitting at the table and as I walked by he called out to me and said thank you for providing this meal and thank you for adding another week. He told me how difficult it is to make ends meet with the little bit of money he receives, he is disabled and gets a little money from the State and after paying rent, utilities, and medication there is little left for food. He told me how he has watched the price of food continually increase yet his income has stayed about the same over the last few years. But with all of that said he was still a very happy guy, happy to be with other people and happy to have a meal that he said, “he did not have to cook!”
I walked away thinking, this is why we do this! He is the reason why we do what we do. He is our neighbor and providing a meal for him is showing love for him and that is what we as Christians are called to do.
Sharing a meal with someone is one of the most basic things we can for them. When Jesus met with people he was always concerned for their needs and food was always part of His ministry to them.
I am thankful that we at St. Michaels have decided that we are going to be a church of action and church where her people roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty. I have said this before, Christianity calls us to action. We cannot call ourselves Christians if we do not GO and DO.

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