Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK Day of Service

Today I was privileged to serve alongside young people and adults from Trinity Lutheran for the Tarrant Area Community of Churches MLK day of service. We were responding to the call of Dr. King to serve our neighbors in love, to proclaim good news and live that faith through service. I started the day at 7:30am with an interview on our local radio station KCBI 90.9 talking about this commitment, a Lutheran commitment, to justice and service. From there, we went to worship with our diverse and ecumenical community. We sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing" and "This Little Light of Mine" and were reminded that lighting a candle at Midnight means that we say to the darkness "I beg to differ!" Our youth and adults were able to experience the passion of the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) tradition as well as preaching from an Anglo Baptist preacher.

What a blessed day. Beautiful January weather here in North Texas. Cool but clear skies and warm sun. Our job was to go door to door in the Rosemont neighborhood of Fort Worth passing out flyers about programs for students in FWISD.  This is one of the highest population neighborhoods of students in the school district, but because of language and poverty, they are also often very unconnected with the resources available to them through the district. The reality is, our youth are also all students in FWISD, but because of demographic circumstance, they know all these programs exist. It was educational for them to learn there are many who do not.

I was so proud of our young people as they went, often just two of them at a time, to strangers doors and asked if they had students in the district and if so, could they give them some of the bi-lingual information we had. To be with our young people as they learned about the challenges of going door-to-door was impressive. Their willingness to step out, channeling their inner Jehovah's Witness, in going door to door was great. Even more impressive was that they quickly found that task tiring (as only 1 in about 6 door knocks got a response) and decided, instead of complaining, to start picking up trash. We collected 4 big bags of trash in our day together as well as visited an elderly Trinity member who lived in the neighborhood we were visiting.

On a day when we remember a movement that challenged the country to live up to its ideals of equality and fraternity.  Our youth lived that movement and proclaimed to a community that there are people who care and desire they have the same opportunities to succeed as they do. To look on others as sisters and brothers, to not look down upon those with a different skin tone or language, but see it as an opportunity to communicate and to share.

We are indeed blessed to be planted in the heart of Fort Worth here at Trinity. We have this calling. We are the Lutheran parish in downtown Fort Worth. As I arrived back at church I saw many families parking in our neighborhood and heading to the stock show and rodeo. But again, these were not our typical demographic. For today is the "Cowboys of Color" rodeo event. What a blessing to be planted in the heart of a diverse and exciting city!!! And what a blessing to have young people lead us in what it means to reach out in that community.

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