I have to say, this past Sunday was one of my favorite days at St. Andrew’s, ever.
Why? Because we spent the day turned outward, toward this world Christ loves enough to have laid down his life for it.
First, here’s the headline from our Fools for Christ’s Sake fundraising dinner: The wonderfully generous people of St. Andrew’s dug deep to fund the lunch program at our partner school, St. Augustine’s, in Maniche, Haiti. We needed to raise $20,000 to ensure we could feed all 150 kids every day of the week during the next school year. That seemed like a tall order –- we’re still in a recession, after all. But when the pledges were tallied, the total stood at $25,000, enough to feed our kids and repair part of the school building damaged by last year's earthquake.
None of the kids of Maniche have ever been to St. Andrew’s, but they seem like part of the family anyway. At this point, we aren’t simply helping anonymous hungry people. When we saw the video clips Sunday night, we could recognize the faces of children from cards we bought at the Advent card sale. We could see their gratitude as we watched them pray before lunch. The missionaries’ videos and stories make this distant place come to life and show how hard it is to leave after spending a week there.
We don’t just have a partnership with a school. We have family in Haiti -– and on Sunday, our folks took a giant step toward helping to ensure that their brothers and sisters will have enough to eat next school year.
The fundraiser would have been enough on its own. But we began last Sunday with another joyful step into the mission God has given this congregation.
We Episcopalians are supposed to be standoffish and unsure of our connection with God and our church. Any visitor to St. Andrew’s will tell you otherwise. But on Sunday, we proved it to ourselves, too. People from 75 households took home yard signs after church on Sunday –- yard signs inviting neighbors and passersby to join us as we celebrate Easter at St. Andrew’s.
Demonstrating our faith “out loud” isn’t the easiest thing for many of us. It may not seem as polite as we usually like to be. But we’ve got a good story to tell about what’s going on in our congregation. And when you’ve got good news, it’s not so hard to share it after all.
This week, as we mark Palm Sunday and enter into the deep mystery of Holy Week, we’ll have more yard signs waiting for our folks to take home and proudly plant in their lawns. It's good not to be “the frozen chosen” after all.
So I’ll remember April 10 as a day when St. Andrew’s helped to save the world. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday.