You show me the path of life. In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore. - Psalm 16:11
O God, we are children of your presence and your promises. We are shaped by your love and filled with your grace. Make of us what you will, that we may be your people in this world, bearing witness to your goodness and salvation. May those around us be touched by your Holy Spirit because of our words and deeds, for the sake of Christ, our Lord. Amen
Christmas Basket Program:
Christmas of course brings fond memories of gift exchanges with family and friends and good smells from the outdoors as well as the kitchen. For me, the season also brings an eagerness for Resurrection's Christmas gift basket program. When I first took part in the program, my family and I chose a family from the list and I selfishly thought how much *I* was doing for the families for whom I bought gifts. However, after that first delivery to the case managers, I saw as they sorted through all the gifts how much joy they experienced knowing how much all the gifts meant to their clients. It almost brought me to tears! That humbling experience showed me, once again, that things aren't always what they seem to be. I realized that God brought me to the gift basket program, but the gifts given were just as much for my spirit as to they were to the families.
The Gathering Inn:
The Gathering Inn brings Resurrection together in an interesting way. Once a month, we feed and shelter a group of our neighbors who might otherwise go without. In that sense, it's an important outreach ministry, but there's also a wonderful component of "in-reach." An amazing cross-section of church members volunteer for The Gathering Inn; teens and grandparents, families and single people, super active volunteers and people who are just starting to find their place to serve. These are people whose paths might never cross for more than a nod and a smile on Sunday morning. Instead, they come together to work, tell stories, laugh, learn about each other and build relationships that strengthen us all. It's God's love in action.
CASA: Youth at the Placer County Emergency Shelter
I say a silent prayer as I hear this week's kids in the hallway right before I meet them. For those whose first names that I know I extend my fist and bump them as I greet them. Some arrive with huge visible scars, some physical, mostly emotional. Teens arrive with heads down, earbuds around their necks, mostly stating "I have no homework", yet they love that I bring them candy and help them finish their school projects with the school supplies that has been donated by my school. The little ones saddle right up when they find out my day job. The room hums with jousting voices and often I stand behind the youth in order to check in with the ones muddling through the "homework club" work at hand.
Marisol (a pseudonym) worries that when she goes to court, no one will believe her truth. Staff members stand close by as I focus on affirming her words, monitoring her math worksheet answers, and helping her" show your work".
Jayden ( a pseudonym) wonders if his home pass will be honored by his new social worker. "Let her see my mom as ill, not abusive". His cheeks are covered in silent tears. Homework takes a back seat to my leaning in to listen. Another teen puts her hand on top of Jayden's and together they sit together, unified.
God is there with a quilt that has been lovingly completed by a team of youth, Resurrection quilters, and other CASAs. God is present in a virtual hug, a listening ear, a new friend made in the depth of worry and uncertainty. My weekly trip on I-80 and then on Hwy. 49 to minister to the youth at PCES, humbles me and brings me tremendous joy.