Day of Service

A big day is coming!! September 8th will be amazing! Are you excited?!?!

Okay, maybe I should back up a little. My church is part of the ELCA and, in honor of our 25th anniversary of being united as the ELCA, a church-wide Day of Service is being planned. ELCA churches all over the world do service in their own way, in their own time. But, on this day – on September 8th – we will all do it AT THE SAME TIME!

When I first heard about this plan, I got goose bumps. Just the thought of thousands – no, MILLIONS of people all over the world working to do good in the world all at the same time was invigorating to me!  I mean…isn’t this what we’re all supposed to be doing all the time anyway?  We help each other, live in union and community, support our neighbors (near and far).  But, in our busy lives it’s hard to find the time to help.  Or, at least it’s easier to find the excuses.  On September 8th, small groups are doing the planning and set up for us – all we have to do is show up.  No, I mean really show up!

Just in our local area I have heard or read about dozens of opportunities being organized for this day.  We can choose something that suits our talents, or something that challenges our fears.  We just need to choose!  Plans are being made for preschoolers and the most senior of citizens all to be able to help in some way.  Everyone can be a part of this.

The very thought of it stirs the dreamer in me – that part that wants to win the lottery just to be able to give all the money away.  Deep in my soul is a mother that needs to fix or protect or nurture everything around me.  And, like many people, if I feel it I believe everyone feels the same way. (isn’t that the way it works?)  So I dream of September 8th, my mind floating over the world to see what this day inspired:

I see a room full of children tying knots in fleece to make blankets for the shelters, hospitals and orphanages.

I see a soup kitchen that doesn’t turn anyone away for a whole month because they’ve been given enough supplies to last them that long.

There’s a school with poorly managed resources that receives enough books to give one to every child – no sharing needed.

Electricity comes to a small village because more volunteers came to finish installing the donated solar panels.

Lonely shut-ins receive visitors or are taken out to a park for the day, or maybe to the cemetery to reconnect with a lost love one more time.

I see high-schoolers making a pledge to adopt a neighbor and promise to spend quality time with them for a whole year (and probably more…once those relationships are nurtured, they don’t break apart easily).

Neglected parks and playing fields get cleaned up with new fences and no garbage.

Animals in need of a home are found loving homes, or shelters/rescues in need of volunteers are no longer needy.

Soldiers everywhere will get mail – and thanks.

People who struggle with pain of any kind will find some relief in the comfort of a friend.

I see whole groups being taken to plays, music or sports events that they never would have gone to.

Community gardens will be planted, not for fun or beauty, but for necessity.  Books will appear in every house or hut.  Clean water will be found near every home.  Food will be available to everyone.

Children will not die of preventable diseases.  Adults will not give up on life.  Elderly will not be left to die alone.

People will learn to love again.

My heart is exploding with excitement over what this day could be!  I want to shout to everyone about how wonderful this is!  Do you get it?  Do you understand what a difference we could make in the world in just one day??!!  What makes my heart leap even more is the thought – just a little one, let me have this – that this one day will lead to one more and one more and one more.

It can be a splendid day if we’re all a part of it.  I know it started as an effort of the ELCA, but does that matter?  I have friends of many faiths and of no faith….does that matter?  Everyone can truly be a part of this world-wide movement. This is about doing good in the world – that’s all that matters.

September 8th is my new favorite day.  I hope you’ll celebrate with me.

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