Throw in the Towel, Or Wrap it Around Your Waist
By: Susan Naslund
Don’t give up on church because you can’t worship indoors -- you can throw in the towel, or you can wrap it around your waist.
It has been a long six months and we sure do miss worshiping God inside our beautiful sanctuary. We miss the music and the fellowship. We long to gather again. But, did you know that many of us have never really stopped going to church during the pandemic? For many of us, the Good Shepherd Ministry Center has become our sanctuary and our place of worship.
Because what is worship? Worship is a special time set apart to connect with the divine. Worship is seeking God’s presence and kneeling before God to reflect on God’s grace and mercy. And, what is a sanctuary? A sanctuary is a blessed place of welcome and peace where we commune with God and with one another.
Throughout the week, food is delivered for guests of the Bethlehem Food Pantry. Boxes arrive on a big truck for the Little Lambs diaper ministry. We are in awe of God’s mercy. On Fridays, we greet friends when they drop by with additional donations of groceries and clothing for the Shepherd’s Closet. Then, we prepare ourselves for worship by centering ourselves in Scripture and in prayer before we get to work organizing for service for the following day. Then, every Saturday, we open in prayer on the sidewalk and we share the love of Christ in a beautiful multi-cultural, multi-faith gathering in an outdoor chancel. The table is set for all who arrive so that everyone may partake of God’s grace. We commune with God and with one another. We bring ourselves as an offering. We remember the teachings of Jesus and answer the call to feed the hungry and clothe the naked by responding with the provision of nutritious food; gently used shirts, pants, and shoes; handmade face masks; and diapers of all sizes. At the end of the drive-thru lane many pantry guests pause for a word of prayer. “Go in peace,” we say as the benediction.
The inability to meet in our church need not get in the way of our worship experience at this time. If you are able, we urge you to open the doors and go beyond the walls of our sanctuary to connect with God while serving others. Come out to the curb with us and let your neighbors see you as an active participant in the community! God is doing a new thing at the Good Shepherd Ministry Center. We invite you to worship with us there.
How to participate:
- Sign up to volunteer by emailing email@example.com
- Drop off food and clothing donations between 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. on Fridays
- Offer monetary donations at foothillsumc.org/donate/ (designate Bethlehem Food Pantry, Shepherd’s Closet, or GSMC General)
- Pray for volunteers and participants at the Good Shepherd Ministry Center
Note: At the Good Shepherd Ministry Center, face masks are required and social distancing is observed. No more than 10 volunteers gather indoors to serve.