It started as the seed of a plan. Bringing Christian non-profits together to reach out to our city. It came together last Saturday.
After we’d set up our tables, we started with a worship time–a band comprised of five members each from a different church singing in Christian accord.
Our host offered a word from the Bible–Job 9:33–“If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together,”–If only there could be a person to stand between hurting people and God.
“Today, you are that person,” he said.
The kickoff moment came when an elderly man hobbled up the hill to the sidewalk tables and sat down.
The cooking had just begun, but our chef and his assistant scurried to serve the man.
I wondered if he’d had anything at all to eat that day.
Soon parents–mostly moms–came with children.
Outside we offered a mix of donations and discounted (but baked fresh!) food from two meat processors, a bakery, a coffee shop, and some of the ladies attending a retreat that weekend.
I realized we had donors who didn’t offer what was just “good enough”; they offered their best.
Inside were representatives from two pregnancy resource centers, a local counseling group, a Christian school, a neighborhood church with a feeding program, a scholarship provider, a security specialist, and a local children’s ministry offering crafts. There was a table for our host–a city-wide ministry working out of the former elementary school building hosting us that day.
I sat at my author table, next to the table with door prizes.
We lined the edges of the entryway leading up the stairs to the gym where our host had inflated bouncy houses.
People came and found sustenance, encouragement, and those willing to help them in their need.
The expressions on the faces of children winning a prize were utter joy.
When it was over, we cleaned up and went home–bone weary but full of ideas for next year.
We hope this fair was our first attempt. We hope that other places will see and adapt the idea to fit their own communities. And we know that ministry doesn’t end with the conclusion of an event.
Our host will welcome hungry kids this summer, offering a feeding program as well as a reading program. There is more than one way to feed a soul.
We are thankful for the businesses that reached out to people who may never buy a product from them.
We are thankful that some individuals gave money and others baked brownies, cookies, and muffins. People offered us speaking opportunities to let the community know what we were doing and where. A radio station lent us the means to make a public service announcement. A printing/copy company provided insight and expertise in crafting brochures. They worked harder than they had to.
People in community came together to feed and entertain, to encourage and inform–to fill needs. Each one who contributed stood between God and a neighbor as a mediator.
They stood in fellowship with the least of these.
Matthew 25: 40b: “‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’”
May we go and do likewise.