The elders at LPC never passed a resolution declaring us to be a church in love with the whole world. The congregation never took vote to define ourselves by our embrace of all people – from those just outside our front doors who come seeking hope and purpose or a bag of groceries to make it through the week to those who come seeking healing at a place called Kibuye Hope Hospital in the tiny and impoverished central African country of Burundi. But by the grace of God that is who we are becoming and will always be becoming. A church in love with the world.
Those of you who are part of the LPC family know it well. Mission begins at our doorstep. Our missionaries are us. LPC people stock the shelves at the food pantry in our own basement and down the road at Bucks County Housing. We walk in the park on a fall afternoon to raise money to help alleviate world hunger (see more here). Our youth and many others use 30 hours without food to help those for whom “without” is more than a 30-hour experience. We use our offering to reach out to prisoners in the County Jail and students on college campuses.
Quietly, unknown to most of the rest of us, some LPC people are willing to listen and talk awhile with friends and neighbors who are lonely or discouraged and, when the time is right, to tell them about the One who says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
We know that if we are going to love the world we must do so in word and deed – one or the other is not an option.
There is a wonderful daily-ness about the way LPC loves the world, but also those ways that catch our attention and are the subject of newsletter articles and Sunday morning reports. Just this year, just in the past nine months, LPC people have been “from the pews” missionaries in Guatemala, Kenya, Cameroon, Tanzania, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, the Philippines and post-Katrina New Orleans.
I think it’s around 65-70 of us who have caught a flight to somewhere else to share God’s love with those who are there.
But not all of us can catch a flight, travel overnight, find ourselves at the ends of the earth. That’s why I like this one-week opportunity to love the world with a pancake flipper. It seems a little crazy, but here is what it’s all about:
A week or so ago John and Jessica Cropsey, our medical missionaries in Burnundi, sent us an email asking for our help. They know enough about LPC to have figured we were just the right people to ask. And they were right. As the work continues at Kibuye, one of the upcoming needs is to prepare four guest houses that will be used by visiting physicians who come to help in the ministry there. But it turns out that some of the items you need to equip a kitchen, for instance, are hard to come by in Burundi – pancake flippers and can openers, cookie sheets and garlic presses, measuring cups and pasta forks. That’s where we come in.
A wonderful couple from Seattle is traveling to Burundi later in the month and have offered to fill a suitcase full of needed kitchen items (51 such items to be exact), if someone – or some church that loves the whole world – could come up with those items. And that would be us.
Our Mission Committee asked our elders if they could ask you and the elders said, “For sure.” So this Sunday, and this Sunday only, you will have the opportunity to say, “Count me in.” In Sunday’s bulletin you will find an insert with a list of the needed items. (Here’s a copy – but don’t buy anything until after worship on Sunday). Following worship you will need to find Lee Thomas in the Narthex (or chapel following 8:30 worship) and sign up to purchase one or more of the items and return it the church no later than Sunday,October 13. Our supplies must be on the way to Seattle on Monday, October 14.
Not all of us are able to travel the world as Christ’s missionaries. This coming week almost all of us can be missionaries – being a part of the greatest project the world has ever seen: the sharing of the Gospel of Christ with the whole world.
- Come to worship on Sunday and decide which items on the list are yours: a pancake flipper or a can opener, a cookie sheet or a garlic press, a measuring cup or a pasta fork.
- Sometime between Monday and Saturday make your way to Target or Wal-Mart or wherever you buy such things and make your purchase.
- No later than Sunday, October 13, return your item(s) to the designated box in the Narthex.
- The Mission Committee will get the goods to Seattle and that faithful couple will get them to Kibuye.
- A pancake flipper from Langhorne to Seattle to Burundi for the sake of the world God loves.
And, yes, when visiting physicians travel to Burundi to be the hands of God’s healing at Kibuye Hospital, they will stay at a guest house with a well-equipped kitchen that will make their stay a little easier and their work maybe just a little more effective as, word and deed, they tell the world about the God who loves.
Any of us can participate in this slightly crazy project. I think it would be a wonderful family mission project for those of you with younger kids. Take the kids on the shopping trip, let them find the item and then pray that God might use that pancake flipper or garlic press as part of the greatest project the world has ever seen.
No vote was ever taken, but surely God is calling us to be a church that loves the whole world.