By Janné Grover, Council of Twelve Apostles
“And who is my neighbor?” [The Samaritan] went to him and bandaged his wounds, treating them with oil and wine. Then he put him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.
A friend encourages members of his congregation to serve God in silence as humble, servant ministry that focuses on God rather than the one engaging in ministry. It is like St. Francis of Assisi’s wisdom, “Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.”
The Lenten journey with Jesus, the peaceful One, leads to the humility of the cross. It is self-giving and forgiving. Fasting as a Lenten practice strips us of attachments, agendas, privileges, and barriers to seeing the needs of others, seeking justice, and walking humbly with God. It is not to deny our humanity but to deepen awareness of, and authentic response to, our shared humanity. In a culture that clamors for self-promotion and idolizes power, humble servant ministry is courageous, peaceful resistance.
In a recent Crumb Donors newsletter, Makayla shared, “I know how it feels to be homeless and not know where you are going to sleep at night. I know how it feels to have churches or charitable organizations occasionally show up to give away stuff or volunteer at community kitchens for photo ops and local newscasts to glorify how generous they are.” This is a powerful reminder of the damage caused by toxic charity and self-serving generosity that salves the guilt of privilege.
Makayla’s life was changed by a humble prayer group walking the neighborhood who bandaged her wounded spirit with affirmation of her worth. They did not walk away from the encounter thinking that was enough; they extended an invitation into loving community. Lives are changed through the power of invitation…not just to church, but into belonging through imperfect welcoming and affirming communities of Christ-centered generosity, justice, and peacefulness.
There are countless examples of humble servant ministry that go unnoticed, such as individuals who show up day after day to prepare and serve food to neighbors without homes. There are no photo ops or newscasts, just the courage to humbly serve a world in need.
Breathe deeply and repeat the word “courage” in the silence. Notice how you respond in body, mind, and spirit. Practice the feeling of spiritual strength, of stretching beyond what is comfortable and familiar. Bless the feelings that are evoked. Breathe again. Trust that you have everything you need to follow the Spirit in the places where courage is required today.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.