The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matt 25:31-46) reminds us that practical help can be profoundly spiritual: the people commended by God were not aware that in helping the poor, needy and in prison they had actually been serving the King, but this was His conclusion: ‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ (Matt 25:40)
There are so many ways we can help people in the next few weeks, practical things that may not seem particularly spiritual in our eyes, but which, when offered to God, can be used in ways we can only begin to imagine.
In preparation for the Winter Wonderland outreach (18th November) and the Christmas Market (24th November), we need small items for the goody bags such as wrapped sweets and chocolates (e.g. lollipops) and gifts to include in the bags. We also need tombola prizes and raffle prizes for the Christmas Market.
The Salvation Army is holding a ‘Winter Warmer Day’ on 10th November when they will be giving out items to help the needy and homeless stay warm over Christmas. If you have any hats, scarves, gloves, or coats which could be given out on that day, please bring them to church as soon as possible. We will also be contributing hot water bottles and flasks to help with this as we have done in previous years.
The most practical gift we can offer to God is our time. If you are able to actually help at either of the Christmas outreaches (we will be doing Advent activities and giving out goody bags at Winter Wonderland and serving refreshments and fund-raising for the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal at the Christmas market), even for just an hour, that would be a great help. Helping by baking goodies, serving drinks, washing up, manning stalls, wrapping presents and supervising activities are all examples of how we can give God our time to serve our local community – and in doing so, we serve Him. Before the events, we are preparing the goody bags on Wednesday 8th November (10.30 a.m. at the Salvation Army), another way you can help, even if you are unable to attend the events. There is so much we can do to serve our community. Please pray for all the outreach events and know that by your prayers, you too are offering God your time and energies for His service.