Six years ago this week, our son Owen came home from kindergarten and talked to us about the things he had learned that day about Martin Luther King Jr. How he marched for civil rights; how he gave bold and remarkable speeches that we still remember today; how he put himself in harm’s way to change who we are as a country.
He also learned for the first time that Dr. King was a pastor. This was what he shared with his teachers in response to this revelation:
“I told them, ‘My mom’s a pastor, and she doesn’t do any of those things.’”
Not my favorite moment as a parent, but certainly a typical thing for a six year old to say.
But it has stuck with me.
Certainly there haven’t been too many people like Dr. King in our history. As we remember him this weekend, and as our kids have the day off from school in his honor, we hope that in our own lifetime there will be another inspired leader like him who helps shift our country for the better – regardless of whether they are a pastor or not.
There is another great icon of faith I often think of as well, when I wonder what great things that I or anyone of us are called to do: Mother Teresa. There is a well-worn quote attributed to her that I believe can provide needed motivation for us when we consider Dr. King’s legacy:
Do small things with great love. It is not how much we do - but how much love we put in the doing. It is not how much we give – but how much love we put in the giving. To God nothing is small; the moment we have given it to God, it becomes infinite.
We teach our children about these great heroes of faith all the time. But in their daily lives maybe they don’t always see the connection between these saints and the dailiness of the Christian life. I certainly wasn’t doing my part to help Owen understand the connection between the work that Dr. King did as a pastor and the work that I do every day as a pastor. It is just as important to teach them, and to remind each other, of the value of small acts of love, kindness and generosity. Those are way less glamorous. And they are much harder to recognize.
While there have been and will be in the future GREAT acts of love and generosity that come from Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, people within our congregation are also daily engaged in SMALL acts with great love every day.
This winter the Outreach Committee invites us all to join them in small acts of service: three simple service days either at the church or in the greater Philadelphia community. The full details for each of these opportunities are listed below, along with links to register.
I personally invite you to participate in one of these small days of service, not because I think they will change the world, but because each of these partners are working through small acts of love to change their little corner of the world. They are engaged every day in helping those in need, in offering love and grace to children the world often overlooks, and in living out so much of Dr. King’s dream for our communities.
I hope that you will join us.
Saturday, Jan. 28 - Arch Street Preschool or theVillage
8:30 a.m. - Noon (Arch Street) 8:30 - 10:00 a.m. (Village) Arch Street volunteers will travel downtown to help clean up and organize Preschool classrooms and learn about the work of this innovative school located in the heart of the city. Volunteers for theVillage, will stay at the church to help assemble Kitchen Kits for young women living in theVillage’s Independent Living programs at the Rosemont Campus. Both theVillage and Arch Street Preschool are recipients of grants from the 2016/2017 Eugene C. Bay Fund for Urban Ministry. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Saturday, Feb. 4 - West Philadelphia Alliance for Children - 10:00 a.m. - Noon & Noon - 2:00 p.m. (Work one or both shifts)
Volunteers will work at the Global Leadership Academy West (GLA-W) located at 4601 W. Girard Avenue, Philadelphia. Tasks will include taping spine labels, reorganizing books, straightening shelves etc. This service day will be family friendly, welcoming children in 3rd Grade and up to pitch in! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Sat, February 11 - Habitat for Humanity/Casserole Blitz
8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Habitat) 8:30 - 10:30 a.m. (Casseroles)
Habitat Volunteers will work on the same home that BMPC framed on the front lawn this past Fall! Spend the day at the Diamond Street project working on drywall, painting, flooring, insulation and exterior siding. All skill levels welcome. Casserole volunteers will assemble over 100 nutritious casseroles that will be distributed to partners around the area. If you have always wanted to find out more about the BMPC Hunger ministries - this is the month to check it out! CLICK HERE TO REGISTER