As I type this to you, there are twenty seventh and eighth graders packing and preparing food boxes at the North Texas Food Bank. Their bag lunches are sitting on a bench just outside the warehouse for the moment the work is done. Their sleeves are rolled up. They are taping boxes and stacking them on pallets to be filled with food. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” is blasting through the speakers in that cavernous room, and the adults that love them are covering them with pep talks and words of encouragement as the work continues.
In an hour they will finish up there and then they will drive over to the community garden at Temple Emanu-El for a tour, before concluding the day by supporting Howdy Homemade with 20 orders of delicious ice cream.
It’s the Junior High In-Town Mission week, and it’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Before I truly had a faith of my own, before I understood God as a Creator or an Artist, before I understood God in the midst of my suffering, before I understood Advent and Lent, before I understood faith at all, I understood why Jesus would feed the hungry. I understood Jesus who healed the sick and cared for the poor. God was a mystery, but Jesus made sense.
So today the youngest in our youth group are following in Jesus’ footsteps. They may not have a faith of their own yet. They may have questions about God or the church, but my prayer is that in feeding the hungry, they’ll catch a glimpse of why all this matters in the first place, and it just might change their life.
It’s In-Town Mission week. It’s one of my favorite weeks of the year.
Don’t stop believing.