A Summer of Serving
Throughout the summer, the Crossroads family has had a weekly opportunity to be transformed by the stories from the Book of Acts where the first followers of Jesus shared the good news of love with their family, community and world. Each week, Crossroads Summer Acts of Service had us all working together inter-generationally to change the world one person, family and community at a time. We served in our neighborhoods by collecting food for Mobile Hope, making dog toys for the Loudoun Animal Shelter and writing notes of gratitude to veterans and first responders at Boulder Crest. We served those experiencing homelessness in DC by assembling hygiene kits and those around the world by supporting a chicken project in Uganda and helping feed families in Guatemala during the COVID Crisis. We have even served our families, friends and ourselves through random acts of kindness.
Through sharing stories of transformation experienced while serving the least of these, we were all able to see what Jesus knew all along. It is better to give than to receive. Thank you to all who participated in Summer Acts of Service. Even though we were not together physically, we were able to still be connected in service to those in need.
Hopefully, through weekly reflections and prayer around these acts of service, you were able to grow deeper in your faith and awareness of your daily purpose as a follower of Jesus. Perhaps you have a clearer picture of what it means for you and/or your family to serve in ways big and small and would like to engage further. If so, I would love to hear what God is calling you to do next. Email Kathy MacKrell at email@example.com and together we will make it happen.
Before you SERVE with action, begin by going through the reflection questions below. We go inward to reflect and then we go outward to serve.
We boarded a boat at Troas and sailed straight across to the island of Samothrace, and the next day we landed at Neapolis. From there we reached Philippi, a major city of that district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. And we stayed there several days.
On the Sabbath we went a little way outside the city to a riverbank, where we thought people would be meeting for prayer, and we sat down to speak with some women who had gathered there. One of them was Lydia from Thyatira, a merchant of expensive purple cloth, who worshiped God. As she listened to us, the Lord opened her heart, and she accepted what Paul was saying. She and her household were baptized, and she asked us to be her guests. “If you agree that I am a true believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my home.” And she urged us until we agreed.
This week's SERVE activity is to show radical hospitality just as Lydia did above. We encourage you to write sidewalk chalk blessings or create signs to put in your yard or on your door for your neighbors.
In this story, we see that God opened Lydia’s heart to receive the message of Jesus spoken by Paul. Once she received this message, she responded in radical hospitality. Begin today’s reflection by taking a moment to open your heart to what God may be trying to tell you. After you have done this, be mindful of anyone and anything that comes to mind. Whatever God puts on your heart, whether it is checking on a friend that came to mind, or doing random acts of kindness for strangers, etc. Make it a goal to respond this week.
General Reflection Questions:
- How do you identify when God is speaking to you (i.e. see a specific bird or hear a specific song)?
- Are you always willing to act on what God is telling you?
- Think of a time when God was telling you to do something, after you did it, what was the result? If you didn’t do it, what stopped you?
Reflection Questions for Students:
- How often are you aware of God’s presence in your life?
- Are you open to listening for the voice of God?
- How is God telling you to respond to that voice?
Reflection Questions for Families with Children:
- Ask your children what God looks like. Tell them that we see God in the kind actions of others. In what ways lately have you seen God's presence?
- Find a quiet place in your home or in a nearby park to sit with your kids and just be with God. Take a few minutes to close your eyes, take purposeful breaths, listen to the sounds around you. Pray out loud to God for what is in your heart, name your goals and aspirations, take turns with your family and children, praise your children's thoughts without judgment. Go about the rest of your day with renewed purpose.
- For this week's act of service, we are asking families to spread cheer to your neighbors and community. Grab some sidewalk chalk and take a walk with your children. Write inspiring and kind messages. Instruct your children to draw pretty pictures of butterflies and flowers. Take pictures of your art work and send share to firstname.lastname@example.org or on our FB and Instagram pages.
God, our hearts are open to You. We are Yours, therefore, use us to show Your presence to those around us. Compel us to react to Your voice when we hear it. Drive out any fear or doubt that may stop us from reacting. May we respond to You with the radical love and hospitality that we see Lydia respond with in this week’s scripture. Allow us to drown out the noise in our everyday life so that we may be able to hear when You talk to us. Amen.